Self Care – Your Health and the Holiday Season

Self care is defined as taking a personal day or a personal time out to recharge your batteries, rest your brain, and just be a bit lazy. It is a separate activity from going to the gym; which can put you uncompetitive mode and makes your brain think. Self care is often underrated and scorned. People try to shame you when you take time for you. However, you must take time for self care in order to perform your best and let your immune system recharge too.

Growing up my mother didn’t allow us to do very much on Sunday. It was reserved as a day of getting up early for morning mass, visiting grandparents then coming home and curling up in front of the television. Depending upon the weather it would determine what choice of channels we had. Yes, this was before cable television. PBS offered the old black and white movie classics and if the weather was near perfect we could tune in and enjoy a classic movie or an old Hop Along Cassidy episode osf my chart . This was our unannounced family time. Yes, it seemed boring at times, but we sat and thumbed through catalogs and magazines, catnapped, and had conversations. We rested our bodies and brains; our immune system thanked us.

Sundays also did not allow for homework or hanging out with friends. My mother truly called it a “day of rest”. The only chore we may have been found performing was hauling in wood for the wood burning stove. We usually had yummy snacks while lounging around on a lazy Sunday afternoon. If the weather was perfect in the summer we may be found outside riding horses with those pink Hostess snowballs smuggled in the saddle bags. Those are favorite childhood treat. They bring back fond memories.

Early in my young adult life when I found I was suddenly a busy mom and United States Marine I took the advice of Mary Kay Ash and got up an hour earlier each day. This was my private time to enjoy reading, writing a letter, or just enjoying the quiet morning before everyone got up and the rush of the day started.

Years later when I found myself a single parent my quiet time was at 9pm each evening. After the children were asleep and it was 9pm it didn’t matter if the floor needed a good sweeping or a load of laundry needed folding it was now my time and those things would wait until the next day. My ritual was at 9pm to free myself and my brain of the chaos of the day. After performing my nighttime rituals I would crawl into bed with a good mindless romance novel and escape for a few hours. This private time allowed me to stay sane.

Today everyone from children to older adults is rushing around multi tasking at record speeds. People all of a sudden think there is something wrong with just staying home and curling up on the sofa with a good book or watching television. I always wondered why people subscribe to huge cable packages then are never home to watch television.

Now is the time to reclaim your quiet time. It is time to devote a regular time to you and your self care. You will find that you get more accomplished after having a day or few hours of scheduled rest. I remember reading an article from the 1940s or 1950s that told women to take a nap each afternoon and put on fresh makeup before the husband came home so that she was refreshed and able to tend to the husband; that seemed silly advice at the time I read it. But now as I work from home and often begin my day at 4am I love being able to take an afternoon power nap. It recharges my brain and I am more productive in the afternoon. You cannot sit at your desk and work for 10-12 hours without a break and be totally 100% productive. You need to rest your brain.

When my son was little we use to spend the week deciding what snacks we would make to eat while watching Sunday football games. I would usually end up falling asleep and he would wake me up to tell me the score. This became our family tradition and is what memories are made of. Get creative and solicit family members on creating a day of self care for the entire family.

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