A recent realisation has had me thinking about self care a bit.
I don’t pay attention to it as much as I should, but it’s on my mind, and I’m taking little steps each day to be better at it.
These days, “self care” is everywhere. One Google search and you have oodles of lists telling you to take more baths.. Get that caramel shot latte.. Buy those shoes.. Pour that glass of wine and watch your favourite movie!
While those are all excellent ways to treat yourself, they’re not all necessarily self care. They’re indulgences. Treats. And I encourage those whole heartedly, but self care is making sure you’re taking your vitamins, your anti depressants (or both!!) if you need them. It’s finding an outlet for your mind, like journaling, meditation, and one for your body, like running, kickboxing or mountain climbing. To deal with rough days, but also to make sure you’re healthy and able to appreciate the good ones too!
It’s making sure you’re not internalising your feelings because I promise, that’s a terrible idea and an explosion will follow.
It’s keeping on top of the chores, taking care of your teeth, and wearing enough sunblock.
At the beginning of last year, we found out B’s dad had cancer. We were all devastated.
I’d only just found this wonderful, kind, gentle, mischievous but beautiful souled human and I had fully intended on adopting him as my own.
The C word knocked us for six.
In fact within the year, he’d had it removed, had treatment and spoke at our spring wedding a healthy man!
While he was going through the treatment process, there were concerns it may be genetic. B got letters and referrals and phone calls and check up reminders at different occasions throughout the year from the different relevant medical professionals.
He ignored all of them and I didn’t nag hard enough to force him into doing any different.
I don’t think he meant to.
It wasn’t a conscious decision, it’s just that we’re not regulars at the doctors office kind of a couple. It’s gotta be causing us some serious issues before we’ll get round to making an appointment.
It’s not that our health isn’t a priority, it’s that the doctor isn’t cheap and with 4 kids and their schedules to manage, we just don’t often have the time to remember, let alone make the appointment and go in unless it’s really having an effect.
The thing is, our attitudes towards our health aren’t really going to cut it anymore.
B is older than me and while I don’t often notice it, this year he’s turning 46.
46 is the age my dad was when he died.
Their lifestyles are completely different. B is healthy and fit – after heart surgery as a baby, he has scheduled heart checkups and the results are always great, but the realisation that this was the year.
This was that age..
It hit me like a tonne of bricks and I asked him to follow up on those letters.
A week went by, a busy one.. And he’d done nothing about making the appointments.
I asked again and another week went by.
One evening, on a particularly tough day in the office, I came home exhausted. He met me at the door and held me for a moment before I went in to be with all the kids. He sorted dinner, fed Coops and put him to bed. He chatted with the kids while I took some time out in our room. He cleaned up the kitchen and then when everyone had gone to bed, he held me and he made me laugh and we chatted until I had forgotten all about the injustices of the day.
This man is the most wonderful human being I have ever known.
From his kind eyes, to his gentle spirit, I could spend hours listing all of the things I love about him. We only have one life, and I want ours together to be a long and healthy one.
That means that he has to go and get his check ups.
I only just found him, I couldn’t bear to lose him just yet.
(Besides that, I’ve become much to accustomed to not having to do the dishes. I will not give that up)
He went, and his results came back and he’s fit and fighting strong, but this forced a discussion on taking self care more seriously.
Making it a priority, the way we do for the minis.
We have each other to consider when we make decisions like whether or not to ignore that letter from the doctor now.
We’re older now, we don’t even recover from hangovers without at least a week of whining and finding random bruises (even when the night of drinking was purely confined to the comfort of the couch!!)
It’s not just ourselves we have to be better at this for.
It’s each other.
And a perfect side effect of that, is that the kids see self care in their every day lives and learn from it. So that they can make sure that they’re doing everything they can to live healthy and happy lives too.
So treat yourself! Take that bubble bath by candle light with a glass of wine or a book, but also make sure that there’s some broccoli on that dinner plate, and that you’ve had enough water today too!