A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more. "Every hour is saved from that eternal silence, something more, a bringer of new things." – Tennyson

Getting Better at Self-care

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Self-care is not selfishness. It’s the opposite. Selfishness is easy and lazy, and it demands care from other people. Self-care is difficult, like most responsibilities of adulthood, and it is kindness itself: when I take care of myself first, I’m then able to take care of others, rather than needing them to take care of me.

Happily, I’ve been doing pretty well with my New Year’s resolution to make taking care of myself my first priority.

It seems like such an obvious thing—but for many of us, it’s not obvious at all. In fact, it’s quite a challenge. When we’ve been trained our whole lives to put others or work or God or anything else in our lives first, it requires some heavy-duty effort to change our habits and reshape our thinking.

For me, it’s been a multi-faceted effort. I’ve been…

  • working on changing my language to apologize less and assert myself more;
  • revamping my daily routines to take better care of myself in a bunch of small, practical ways;
  • and using cues to remind myself that self-care is my top priority now. For example, I made up a little reminder verse:

Attend first to yourself.
Ask, “What do I need
to feel healthy and strong?”
Then listen and heed
your body’s demands.
And then, only then,
can you serve those you love–
because then, you can.

And that is my strongest motivating reason for putting self-care first: because only then can I healthily and successfully love my loved ones, fulfill my responsibilities, and in general be the kind of person I want to be.

It turns out I’m not the only one thinking about self-care. Last week I discovered this post: “Why self-care matters” by Caitlin Kelly.

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6 comments on “Getting Better at Self-care

  1. Witness
    May 21, 2014

    Amen! Here’s my self-talk reminder (don’t know who originated it — I saw it in a cross-stitch once): “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

    Like

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 21, 2014

      Thanks, Witness! Yeah, I think that’s a common Southern saying. And I think it’s true!

      Like

  2. sponny29
    May 21, 2014

    Sarah,
    I find your posts to be encouraging and insightful 🙂 Taking care of yourself should be at the top of the list. It’s nice to know that there’s someone else who is awareThe things that I find very discouraging is when BIG companies run large marketing campaigns and touting unhealthy food as healthy. We see it every day as we scope out our local grocery store, isles and isles lined with products. So much to choose from. We are so overwhelmed by brand names we just go with what we are used to seeing, even if the ingredients used to make that product are killing people. For example, High fructose corn syrup is used in almost everything we eat. It’s a very inexpensive substitute for sugar, allowing businesses to boost PROFITS even more. High Fructose Corn Syrup is banned in 22 countries due to its link to autism, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and various other illnesses. We can no longer rely on others to watch out for our own safety. Even the FDA, who is tasked with regulating these companies, are financially tied. We have got to take it upon ourselves to do the homework and self improve. Great post!

    Like

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 21, 2014

      Thank you for your comment and your compliment. I’m not sure what the connection is between this post and the issue of food marketing, though.

      Like

      • sponny29
        May 22, 2014

        You mentioned that When we’ve been trained our whole lives to put others or work or God or anything else in our lives first, it requires some heavy-duty effort to change our habits and reshape our thinking. The marketing does shape our minds and opinions and therefore we have to make an effort to change it.

        Like

        • Sarrah J. Woods
          May 22, 2014

          Oh, okay, thanks for clarifying. I see what you mean. Good thoughts! It’s so easy to let propaganda sway us and shape our thinking; it takes effort to go against the grain and think critically for ourselves. I’m a big proponent of that pursuit.

          Like

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