Self-Love is knowing your worth and understanding that you are important and doing the things to help ensure that you take the best care of yourself. Self-Care is a component of Self Love. Self-Care is the actual tasks and things that we do on the health spectrum to ensure that we are healthy and well. February is heart health month. Heart Disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. One in every five woman’s death is linked to heart disease. So in February, we take the time to pay special attention to the health of the heart and to make sure that our hearts are healthy so that we can live long, happy and productive lives.
In recent years, the term self-care has become synonymous with self-love because taking care of one’s self is a critical part of loving one’s self; but, what are the more specific things that can be done to help ensure that self-care is a regular and routine part of life?
Exactly what are these things that we should be doing?
We often hear the term - Preventative Care. This is the foundation of good Self Care.
1. Get regular exercise so that you maintain a healthy weight, a good heart and keep your endorphins up. I got myself a fitbit a year ago and set myself up to ensure that I took at least 7500 steps a day. I sit behind a desk all day so this meant I had to get up and get moving.
2. Get regular sleep to help your body’s natural restorative process. There was a recent poll that showed that really successful people like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
3. Eat enough fruits, vegetables and anti-oxidants. It’s important to eat healthy foods that promote longevity and vitality.
4. Get a regular checkup to make sure that you are in good health.
a. Ladies for us that means an annual trip to the OB/GYN and a breast health examination
5. Visit the Dentist and get your teeth checked and cleaned twice a year. Poor oral health can led to illness.
The goal of preventative health care is to ensure that you have the quality of life which you desire. My idea of a good quality of life will and may differ from others; but you should be able to enjoy the level of activity and health that you desire. If you ever falter in wondering if you should do something, just think abo
ut if you’d take your children or parents to have this done because you love and care about them and want the best for them. If the answer is YES, then this is probably something you should do for yourself as well. Remember Self Love is not narcissism, it is simply knowing that you are just as important as the next person. So Self Care is a necessary part of making sure that you are practicing healthy forms of self-love.
As a Coach, I’ve often had to ask those whom I’m working with why do they feel that they need to struggle or suffer through being uncomfortable as if this form of penance will somehow make them a better person. Most look at me blankly because they’d never actually thought about this. We somehow believe that suffering will lead to some great payoff in the distant future. And while we are waiting on this payoff we are neglecting our health and slowly declining. And I am also guilty of this. I’ve worked myself into asthma attacks and bronchitis, because I forgot that taking care of me was just as important as the task that I was responsible for. And truthfully our bodies have a way of reminding us when we’ve pushed them too far and need to indulge in care. When we are exhausted, in pain, having headaches, suffering body aches and feeling generally like we’ve been hit by a bus (and it’s not a new exercise routine), that’s usually our body cueing us to the fact that we are lacking some form of self-care.
Our job at that point is to listen to our bodies and ensure that we are taking the best care of ourselves. Our bodies are our temple and the vehicle through which we traverse this life. We often save up to buy an expensive car or house, yet the body to go into the car or the house we neglect. We need to pay more attention to the vehicle which allows us to enjoy the physical trappings than to all the various physical trappings which we are working to achieve.
So this February, check in with a friend and make sure that they’ve done their physical, their well woman exam and/or an annual breast health check. See when last they went to the dentist. Check to see if they want to grab a healthy meal with you and then walk around for an hour or two and get some exercise with them. There are so many ways that you can indulge in self-care while also sharing that experience with family and friends.
Dr Sue Speaks is a certified Life and Business Coach. She focuses on helping organizations develop their leaders and helps Women achieve Leadership roles. She is an author, a national public speaker and her first Book on Women of Color and Leadership will be released in 2020