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Self-Care: Head Space

Monday, May 10, 2021

SparkFriends are such good resources. JEANKNEE shared how the word "nourish" helped her. I am trying to say that word internally to myself as I prepare my meals. It is the right focus.

In continuation of my last blog, WATERMELLEN asked what little things we do to take care of ourselves. I answered:

*Taking time to eat slowly and enjoy my food is key for me.
*Taking time to drink water (and relieve myself as needed) all day really helps.
*Wearing clothes that fit and that are comfortable including underwear
*Taking time to cook me something separate if hubby is wanting calorie-dense foods
*Taking time to store leftovers
*Taking time to "say" nice, encouraging things to me; noticing the good decisions I make
*Taking time to counter negative thoughts about me and my eating
*Reward myself by excusing me from doing things I don't want to do. A nap can be a great reward. We don't die from lack of housework!

In thinking about it, the biggest thing I missed is head-space, head room. I mean during the times I was gaining weight badly, I was so focused on my job, my 30 employees, our clients -- especially the child protective clients, that even focusing on my own child and family was hard, and I rarely gave my own needs much thought. Yes, I brushed my teeth. I did laundry still thinking about the current crisis. Yes, I bathed and got dressed every day with brain still trying to problem-solve. I slept when I absolutely had to. I didn't take time to think about how I was feeling, which was basically way, way overwhelmed. When I was eating I was thinking about clients and processes and meeting requirements. I grabbed food here and there but rarely thought ahead about what I would be eating. I grabbed food for family, too, and cooked some but my mind wasn't in what I was doing.

I lost most of my weight while I was still a full-time employee, although it was not the most challenging job of my life. I did have 8 employees and a budget of $500,000 a year to manage and some very needy clients, so it was no walk in the park. I did gain some satisfaction from successes and the money earned helped us, too. My child was in college by then. I consciously started taking time to think about me, to plan my food, to not think about others while I was gobbling food. I stopped at the gym on the way home. I started to take time to eat and pay attention to what I was eating. It made a tremendous difference.

Now having been retired for years, I have time for me. Oh, yeah. I still get up early at least half the time, on days like today when my grandkids need supervision in the morning and rides to bus and school. I can do that and I still think about me, plan my food, enjoy my food, take time for cardio and stretching and dancing and running friends. My daughter is definitely better at thinking about herself than I was at that age. I hope the grandkids always think about themselves enough to know what they are thinking and feeling. It is a much better way to live.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD3802882
    Great blog, Marsha! I think we sometimes get lost in the high pressure shuffle that is life. It adds a whole new meaning to the words, “finding myself.”
    44 days ago
  • GRANDMA524DAR
    I'm about to retire after 48 years as a nurse. Finally, I can take care of me. I shouldn't have waited so long.Great blog, gives me hope that there is time for me. emoticon
    44 days ago
  • WATERMELLEN
    That child protection job must have been so stressful and so overwhelming. I know that I made a conscious decision -- after an early child sex assault case had really been difficult -- that this kind of work was not for me. I salute and admire those who can do it and I know it needs to be done but it was absolutely beyond my ability.

    Head space to pay attention to our own needs: so many women are systematically denied that time (or deny it to themselves, because we are socialized to sacrifice for others).

    I'm so glad you wrote this blog and listed the things you do for yourself. Clearly you have been a great role model for your daughter and your grand daughters.
    45 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. So often we lose ourselves in the act of taking care of others' needs. That is never sustainable!

    GREAT blog.
    45 days ago
  • JHADZHIA
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    Nourish, that is exactly it! May you continue to put yourself first. That doesn't mean you can't care for others too. But you have rights as a human being too. Enjoy peace of mind, peace of body!
    emoticon
    45 days ago
  • NANCY-
    You are a fine role model. Yes nourish is what we need to do.
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    45 days ago
  • DSHONEYC
    emoticon the sooner we learn that we must care for ourselves first in order to adequately care for others is better for everyone.

    Sacrifice is noble, but not always necessary or even beneficial. I am reminded "in the case of emergency and the oxygen masks fall down, put your own on first and then your child's mask".
    45 days ago
  • NATPLUMMER
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    45 days ago
  • JEANKNEE
    You've hit a very important aspect of self-care here!

    And, like you, when the weight trended upward with a vengeance, I was entirely preoccupied with work and others. I had allowed work to consume me. Needs of family to consume me.

    For me, that preoccupation did more than simply lead to weight gain. It contributed to the demise of my health. I have no doubt that this stress was a contributing factor in the thyroid dysfunction that I've had to contend with for nearly 3 decades now.

    Am I beating myself up for it? No. Why not? Because I know that I did the best I could at the time.

    Like the word "nourish" precipitating a shift in me, I also remember becoming keenly aware that the negative thoughts about me drifting through my mind were more often than not things that had been said to me by others. Somehow, when I realized this I was able to detach from the thoughts because I realized that the thoughts were not mine, I did not think that about myself and I was not my thoughts.

    It was a turning point. I had absolutely no interest in carrying around the toxic comments others had directed my way.

    Initially, when such a thought would snag me, I'd acknowledge that the thought was not mine and I'd counter it. Eventually, I chose not to give the thought my attention by countering them. I became able to simply acknowledge that the thought had snagged me (otherwise, I wouldn't be aware of it) and I would shrug it off saying something to myself like: "No free rent in my head!" I realize that statement is a form of engagement. But, somehow, it feels different and I experience it as different.

    It's been a process and continues to be a process which is just life, isn't it?

    By nature I am serious. I've also had to learn to lighten up!
    45 days ago
  • PRIMEOFMYLIFE
    It took me too long to make a healthy routine a priority, but I’m there now! Congratulations! Isn’t retirement wonderful? Let’s make it last! 👍🏼
    45 days ago
  • ONEKIDSMOM
    I have observed that, too. Time for self can be our personal reward as we get older, and make the conscious choice to prioritize it! emoticon emoticon
    45 days ago
  • MTN_KITTEN
    Just read DDOORN's post with links.

    Distractions popped out and hit me in the head ... duh???

    While running around taking care of everyone and everything ... I used food to distract me from ... ME.

    Self-care !!!
    emoticon

    PS ... what did you do for your career???
    45 days ago
  • BDMACE1967
    I COULDNT HAVE SAID IT BETTER AND I COULDNT AGREE MORE! TAKE CARE OF YOU! BE MINDFUL OF YOUR OWN NEEDS AS WELL. LOVE YOURSELF♥️
    45 days ago
  • 7STIGGYMT
    Great blog with lots of inspiration!
    45 days ago
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