I’m a slow learner. It takes a while for me to ‘get’ that I can’t circumvent the laws of nature! Knowing this in theory doesn’t stop me pushing very hard to try! But I don’t think I’m alone in this.
I understand (on a theoretical level at least), that my body is not superhuman; that it needs a certain amount of rest after work; a certain amount of sleep after a long day; a certain amount of alone time after being surrounded by people (I’m a cleverly disguised introvert); a certain amount of food after fasting and fresh air after being cooped up inside. Theory is great, isn’t it?
I see it all the time in the clinic too – people who also know these things but who, for whatever reason (and sometimes for no reason at all), choose to override and push past the sensible limits. And they do so for several reasons such as:
– Guilt : a big one. Thinking such as “I’ve been gone all day so I need to become Supermum now.”
– Habit : another big one . “I’ve always volunteered on the Parents Association / local sports club so I can’t let them down.”
– The expectations of others: “She always washes the team jerseys or remembers the birthdays”
– The God delusion: “But if I don’t do it, it will never get done and there will be a huge fallout.”
– The Martyr syndrome: “Sure it’s always left to me…”
– The ‘Everyone else is doing it’ brigade.
– The Not Stopping To Check if This is a Good Idea for YOU.
This last one has to be the biggest, most frequently encountered of all as far as I’m concerned. Because so many of us go through the motions, doing what we’ve always done, what we’re expected to do or what we’re being asked to do; never stopping to check if any (or all) of it is working in our favour or is simply keeping others happy and sorted while slowly destroying all passion, purpose and joy in our own lives.
Sometimes, we need to stop, or at least Pause…. to look up from the ‘To Do List’ and take a look around.
At our life and how it’s playing out.
At our emotional wellbeing and how it’s being impacted by our behaviours.
At our physical health and how our busyness (among other reasons) is getting in the way of a great diet, regular exercise and bundles of energy.
At our relationships and how meaningful (or superficial) they have become.
At our passion and purpose and notice if they got left behind in the rat race called Life.
Self care can include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, getting your bloods checked, keeping your diabetes under control, reducing (or cutting out completely) your alcohol intake if it’s becoming a problem for you, saying No to the request to help out, making time for the yoga class, turning off work email notifications after hours; the list goes on and on.
We all have our reasons for neglecting self care and in many ways, those reasons are irrelevant. What is relevant is that we begin (however slowly) to look after ourselves in the way that’s right for us. For some, this will include marathons and detox spas. For others, it will be as simple as being honest with ourselves and taking one teeny, tiny step in our own right direction.
So take heart if you too are a slow learner on this Self Care journey – the pace is less important than the direction you’re headed.
Take a moment now and check you’re headed in the direction you want to be going. Then take the next step….you’re bound to meet me. I’ll be the one wearing the tee shirt that says ‘Slow Learner But Never Gives Up.”