Sure would be nice to get a massage, wouldn’t it? Or that acupuncture treatment you’ve been wanting to calm your nerves lately? Or just a quiet evening to yourself?
Oh, such wishful thinking! Or…is it?
Why are we so quick to feel guilty over taking care of ourselves when it may actually be the best thing for us?
We talk with so many clients about self-care that we find it a crucial topic to explore. In our culture, taking care of ourselves can be seen as selfish. It may come across extravagant to do things for ourselves that bring happiness, calm, and peace. We should always be working, bettering, and suffering to get ahead, right?!
But it doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) have to be that way!
Self-care is one of the (if not THE) most significant thing you can do for your health. So why are we lacking such compassion for ourselves?
Well, do any of these reasons ring a bell?
I don’t have time!
I don’t have the money!
I feel guilty!
It’s easy to look at our lives and think that there are so many reasons why we can’t take good care of ourselves. There are so many, it’s almost laughable sometimes!
However, let’s discuss these reasons and how to enlighten your perspective on them – it just may save your health.
Do you have a family? How about a job? Do you have a house to keep clean and meals to prepare? Not to mention a dog to walk or a religious organization to attend?
We get it – we have the same time constraints. It is NOT EASY to get everything done that we need to do, more or less find the time for ourselves that we feel we’d like to do.
So what do we tell ourselves?
Yes, I’d really like to take that painting class, but I’ll wait until the children are older so I have more time to myself (maybe, like…retirement?!).
I’d love to picnic outside tonight for dinner and enjoy the warm weather, but we have sports practices and oodles of homework to complete. We’ll just postpone that idea.
It would be wonderful to get that massage, but then I’d have to find a babysitter and pay for that on top of the massage – and I’m not even bringing in money to the household to do that!
By not taking the time – or MAKING the time, to take care of ourselves, we push ourselves to the max. What does this result in?
Pushing our fight or flight response and not allowing it to refresh can lead to such things as, but not limited to:
– high cortisol levels
– anxiety and chronic stress
– low immunity
– stomach and digestive issues
– sleep disturbances
All of these issues can lead to harmful disease. LISTEN to your body and if you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms, it’s especially important to take time for yourself rather than ignoring them.
By giving ourselves time to relax and unwind, we allow our fight-or-flight response system to rest and recover. This is crucial in keeping harmony within the body.
What does taking time for self-care look like? Maybe…
Cooking – nourish yourself! Preparing a weekly meal planning list and set aside time to cook a clean, homemade meal at least once a day
Moving – move everyday! Weekly hikes in nature, yoga classes, and daily walks all help restore your body AND mind.
Learning – keep your brain engaged always! Try a new hobby, take an educational class, listen to TED talks, or sit down and read the newspaper or magazine. Nightly reading in a quiet place can also relax your mind and allow you new perspectives.
Calming – run that tension away with a warm epsom salt bath, daily meditation, grateful affirmations before bed, a cup of tea with soft music, or sitting in nature.
Sharing – validate your feelings, get things off your chest, and learn to let go of anger, grief, guilt, and shame by talking with a holistic or traditional counselor, friends, and family. Find someone you trust and who will listen as you begin to work through life.
Restoring – sometimes get a little help! Schedule an acupuncture treatment, cupping session or therapeutic massage that targets your stress, releases toxins, and balances energy.
Take the time now…or you may be forced to take the time later.
Ah, this can be a tricky one!
We understand that some of the things that help us relax such as acupuncture, massage, supplements, yoga classes, etc. have a cost associated with them. So how do we sometimes view them because of this?
And yes, some of these things can be luxurious! Think a spa day at a fancy hotel or yoga retreats out of state. There certainly are experiences that can be indulgences!
However, there are many reasonable options that can be part of your self-care plan that are targeted specifically to your health.
What’s our advice on finding the difference?
“If a self-care treatment, class, or product is not targeting your health issue (and doing it effectively), it is a luxury,” says Dr. Adam Graves.
Acknowledge what you want treated and then find specific activities that help it. This is a necessity.
For example, a spa day is fun every once in a while, but at CNMA, we specialize in treating your day to day symptoms or issues – such as chronic stress. We target your condition to bring healing and good health. This may include acupuncture, herbal supplements, and massage – focusing on your overall health and how each element can help you.
We find that if issues are treated when they are smaller, they are a lot less expensive than when they become larger.
Probably one of the most common reasons that many people don’t acknowledge. Guilt.
If you have kids, this is a no-brainer. And even if you don’t, it can be just as powerful.
Guilt can paralyze us from providing ourselves with the best possible care.
If you get that massage, the family may not be able to go out to dinner this weekend.
If you schedule the acupuncture treatment, that’s money you could be putting in your retirement account.
Or, if you take that yoga class, the family may have to cook their own dinner!
These may sound silly reading about, but reasonings such as these are quite common!
If we do something for ourselves, our next thought can immediately be…well, who is going to suffer because of it?
It’s time to do a self-worth check.
A lack of self-worth (because we may be trying to fulfill duties to others), can lead to disease and illness. It can wear us down and burn us out.
However, finding believing in your own self, and that self which functions properly and healthfully, can lead to a less hectic and more balanced life.
Think about what you want to pass down to your kids…
Do you want them to feel guilty for taking care of themselves as well? Do you want them to run on exhaustion all of the time?
What about what to be known of with others?
Do you want to be known for never saying no in order to make others happy at the expense of your own happiness? That you always looked wiped and stressed because you haven’t taken the time to rest?
Dealing with guilt is far more complex, however, it’s important to think about how you truly feel about taking care of yourself and take actions to feel good about it.
Are the reasonings we just mentioned sound familiar? Do you have other reasons why you lack self-care and don’t know what to do about it?
If you live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Parker, Centennial, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Monument, Larkspur, or Colorado Springs, please contact Dr. Graves for a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your concerns and how we may be able to get you on the right track!
At Colorado Natural Medicine and Acupuncture in Castle Rock, we offer a variety of self care options including:
Call us today at 303.688.6698. It could be the best thing you ever do for yourself.