All year long, I tell people to take care of themselves. Eat right, be active and get plenty of rest is my mantra. But during the holiday season, I find that even I am not listening to my own advice. It seems that at this time of year, there is not enough time in the day to get everything done.
Celebrating the holidays with friends and family should be joyous, but so many end up stressed and fatigued. For women in particular, it is our nature to give to and take care of others. We take care of our children, our significant other, our families, our neighbors, our friends and our coworkers. Do you ever feel as if you are juggling 100 balls in the air, and you just have to keep them all in the air because, if one falls, they all will fall? If you do, you’re not alone. Many women feel this same way.
The holiday season is supposed to be the most festive time of the year, but sometimes it can quickly become a stressful and emotional time. As a physician, I hear it often. When a patient is newly diagnosed with cancer, one of her first responses is “I don’t have time for this. I have things to do and people to take care of.” As a woman and caregiver, it can be easy to forget about our own needs. I am continuously telling my patients to remember, in order to be there for their loved ones, they need to take care of their own physical and emotional needs.
As a mother, daughter, sister or friend, it is extremely important to care for ourselves. This is not only self-rewarding, but allows us to be great role models and teach others the importance and impact of healthy behaviors.
During the holidays, we are so quick to give our time and energy that we can end up feeling depleted afterward. Self-care is one of the most important values we can have. When you don’t take the time to take care of yourself, every other aspect of your life will take a hit. It’s easy to feel that self-care shouldn’t be a priority, that it is selfish or that it isn’t meaningful. I’m telling you, taking care of yourself is one of the most important practices that can be implemented in your life. It will transform you and the world around you.
I have found over the years I need some level of self-focus and self-care in order to be able to have enough love, energy, support and comfort to give. Most women are incredibly busy in their normal daily routines, and when the holiday season approaches, additional stressors are placed upon us. The addition of holiday parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining adds additional pressures upon us that make it difficult to actually enjoy the season. It’s extremely important, especially during this time of year, to take time for you. Self-care will bring you joy and peace which, in turn, will allow you to bring joy and peace to those around you.
Simple ways that you can start taking care of yourself include, showing gratitude and appreciation, participating in meditation, yoga and exercise, getting proper sleep, practicing creative expression, authenticity and vulnerability and seeking proper preventative medical care, including yearly mammograms beginning at age 40. Routine mammograms will give you peace of mind or allow a diagnosis of cancer to be found in an early stage, giving you the best chance of successful treatment. It is literally a 15 minute exam that could save your life. Please take a moment today and decide how you are going to start taking care of yourself.
Darlene Weyer, DO, diagnostic radiologist and women’s imaging specialist, Lima Memorial’s Women’s Health Center