By Amy Hinshaw, FNP-BC
It’s February. We are being bombarded with visions of glittery hearts, deep red roses and cherubic cupids. Our minds are inundated with messages about creating romance, celebrating our partners and finding love. We devote several weeks of our year to a holiday focused on celebrating our love for others. For me this begs asking a question. Why is no time devoted in our calendar to celebrating and loving ourselves?
I know, crazy talk right? Caring for and loving yourself. Of course we do that. So let me ask a few more questions.
- What do you do in your daily life that is just for you?
- What energizes you?
- How do you relax?
- What replenishes you when you are beyond depleted?
A nursing professor of mine told me 20 years ago “Amy, you have to figure out what fills up your well. That way you can give from the overflow and not deplete yourself.” Wise words those are. If our well is our soul, you bet we need to know how to fill ourselves up. And if the well metaphor is confusing, let me simplify it.
How do you care for yourself? We have all heard the adage, “Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.” I find that putting those words into action is surprisingly difficult for myself as well as the individuals I work with. How do you translate caring for and loving yourself into action? Only you can truly find out what actions fill your well up but I am here to give you some suggestions.
- Take a walk outside to breathe and listen.
- Read a book for pleasure (not for class).
- Soak in a tub or let yourself take a long hot shower.
- Eat a vegetarian meal with lots of greens, reds and yellows.
- Make sleep a priority: at least seven hours a night will help fill that well up.
- Appreciate one good thing you have done each day for another or yourself.
- Identify something you are struggling with, acknowledge it is difficult and think about how to care for yourself better around this issue.
- Have a yearly physical and talk with your provider about wellness and self-care.
To care and love yourself well, you must consciously implement activities in your daily life that do fill up your well and soul. You may find yourself starting at the bottom of Maslow’s needs hierarchy with basic physiological needs like food, water, rest, health. This is an incredibly important place to start. If these are not well balanced then your body, mind and soul are not going to be well cared for.
So this February I challenge you to find ways to celebrate, love and care for yourself. If you find yourself struggling with my challenge, make an appointment to come and see one of us in Health & Counseling. Nurse practitioner or counselor, we would love to help you on your journey to better care for yourself.