Waiting For Self-Care to Start

Self-Care Tip #176 – Don’t wait to start caring for your self.  

I’ll get to it when things slow down for me.

I can’t handle one more stress on top of the kids and all the people who take, take, take.

Don’t take this away!  It’s my only vice!

I don’t have time because I’m working so much.

There are so many good reasons to wait for self-care.  I don’t belittle them.  I do them too.  There’s a reason we here at FriendtoYourself.com call self-care the hardest work.  It is not for anyone who isn’t willing to go through the fire of putting themselves first.

“The fire,” you say?  Yes.  Fred taught me that.  He was down twenty pounds, working out almost every day with aerobic and anaerobic exercises, putting his ear-plugs in when sounds escalated his nerves, more motivated, interested and active.  Fred was growing again.  He said that it had been years since he’d done any of these things for himself and couldn’t believe what the world looked like when he felt so good.

Fred was sad though.  Not depressed.  No, he hadn’t been depressed for at least a year on his medication and even less so since he was taking care of himself physically.  But sad.  His wife wasn’t interested in his changes, she was disconnected emotionally, and more so every day it seemed to him as he began to change physically, emotionally and behaviorally.  His friends were growing distant.  He wasn’t interested in office politics either.  It was a simultaneous coming together of life in himself and a falling away of the life connection in his “previous life,” as he called it.  Surprisingly, the people he loved the most weren’t so happy for him.  Weren’t supportive of him.  He was sad for that.  There are never gains without losses.

This is not to forget the new relationships he was growing.  There was new life all around him and he still maintained hope for the connections he had before.  But those people who he had called his own for years were the ones who gave him all the reasons to wait for self-care.  He was way past waiting.  He was already on the other side enjoying the sun.

Question:  What have you overcome to get at your own self-care?  Is there anything your are still waiting to do?  Please tell me your story.

*Art work (assumed) courtesy of carldagostino.wordpress.com.

Sensory Overload


Image by bbaunach via Flickr

Sensory overload.  There are some neurodevelopmental disorders that cause heightened sensory awareness.  People might need to brush their arms to be desensitized to the sense of touch.  Or use a vibrating toothbrush or wear shades even with little to moderate light.  I hear most about the senses of touch and hearing from my patients who will hit their head, scratch themselves, or do other self-injurious behaviors to self soothe.

Hearing about these people might feel like you are far removed.  However, many of the general population have some sensory issues although to a lessor degree.  These things come out when we are tired.  When we have multiple emotional stressors.  When we feel trapped or overextended.  It is linked to anxiety and so we may notice tension crawling up our skin or into our throats.  If we could escape we would.  Some people can push through this and make it until a window opens.  Some people end up reacting.

Today I found myself squinting more.  My energy was low and I yawned a lot during clinic which is rude.  My inner milieu had a lot to do with what I was bringing to the table and little to do with what was happening to me or around me.  However, there I was, a player in life.  I did my best.  And then the sound level started going up.  It felt like my skin was lifting up and contracting all at once.  Sound travels so it followed me around the house.  Before I had to put a dollar in the family money jar, I remembered my ear-plugs.  Ah.  Things went down a notch.  I could cope better.

Self soothing.  Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Dr. Robert Bucknam, the much disputed early parenting book, tells new-by’s that babies need to learn to self sooth.  Parents are advised to let their babies cry at night until they quiet down, rather than pick them up and sooth them externally.  Thus teaching  a baby that they can’t use Mom or Dad as a sleep prop.

Many of us even as adults struggle with self soothing.  Awareness of what is bothering us helps.  Getting that awareness might be a deliberate effort or it might come effortlessly.  Either way, knowing what is the trigger helps to know how to respond.  Anyone can describe a time in their life when this didn’t happen and they tried to self sooth in a way that was hurtful to themselves or someone else.

Whatever the feelings are, whatever the stressor, self soothing should be something simple, easy and fairly obvious.  Today, I was surprised at how much better I parented with ear-plugs in place!

“Mommy, why are you wearing earplugs?”…

Question:  What do you think?  Agree or disagree?

Self Care Tip #32 – Self sooth simply.  Be a friend to yourself.