I sat on the table with the sterile paper crinkling every time I made a move, anxious to hear what the doctor had to say at the Target Minute Clinic that cold winter morning.
It had been over a week since I was feeling symptoms similar to an ulcer, (thanks to WebMD for that one) and knew it was time to start seeking some medical help.
The small woman in her white coat asked me questions like if I had been out of the country recently, how long I have had these symptoms, the usual.
I told her the symptoms were worse when I ate, then she asked, “Well have you changed your diet to more mild foods?”
I told her no, which was followed by her making a face that was half disgusted, half puzzled, then went on to ask more questions.
At the end of my time, she told me I just had a virus (thankfully), and that I should change my diet to the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast).
We begin exchanging goodbyes and such when she drops the a bombshell of a line that left me stunned.
“It looks like your symptoms were just due to a lack of self care.”
That one stung a little, but it was true.
How many of you have found yourself in a situation like this?
Well, maybe not exactly like this… You probably didn’t get roasted by a doctor at a Target Minute Clinic.
But maybe a friend told you, “Hey, are you doing okay? You haven’t been yourself lately.”
Or your parent says, “You haven’t eaten all of your dinner! What’s the deal?”
Or, “You’ve been acting different…”
“You look different.”
“Why haven’t you hung out with us lately?”
“You seem stressed.”
And we respond with a form of “Oh, it’s just Monday!”
“No worries, I’m just tired!”
“I’m just not feeling well.”
“It’s just an off day.”
Let me ask you a question, and it might be a little off-putting, but I think it’s important.
How are you taking care of yourself today?
Recently in culture the idea of “self-care” has been incredibly relevant and talked about in a variety of ways.
If I search on Pinterest “self-care,” these are the kinds of images that pop up:
So… A lot of flowers, face masks, a bath, well-lit selfies.
This, my friends, is not self-care.
And don’t get me wrong!.. I love a good face mask, bubble bath, flowers, and well-lit selfies as much as the next person, but self-care is so much more than that.
Psychology Today posted an article regarding self-care and says this:
“Self-care is best defined as the ability to take proper care of your daily living needs, like eating, sleeping, grooming. But it’s also about identifying your own unique needs and taking steps to meet them—like making the time to do things that nurture you, as well as activities that keep you healthy.”
Let me ask you again, how are you taking care of yourself today?
Because self-care isn’t about doing what you want to do, it’s doing what you have to do.
So what do you have to do today to take care of yourself today?
Maybe it’s mentally… You are so bogged down with work, broken relationships at home, you’re stressed with classes. Maybe you need to watch an episode of your favorite TV show to just take a minute and relax your mind. Or maybe take some time to declutter your room.
Maybe it’s physically… You feel sluggish, you’re filling yourself with junk food every day, you can’t remember the last time you exercised, your body aches, and you’re exhausted. Maybe you need to just take a 10-minute walk in this spring weather! Or find a quick recipe on Pinterest of a new spin on your favorite meal and make it for dinner.
Or maybe it’s spiritually… You can’t “feel” God, your prayer life is nonexistent, you can’t remember when you went to church or small group last because you “just don’t have the time.” Maybe you need to find a podcast to listen to on your way to work to fill yourself with the Lord’s truth, or take a minute to pray to God about what you’re struggling with, or ask a friend to pray for you.
I don’t know what it is for you. But you do.
We need to surrender our routine, expectations we have for ourselves, and our excuses and start taking time for ourselves to take care of ourselves.
I want you to do one thing this week that you need to do.
Sometimes we try to do EVERYTHING since we need a LOT of help, and we think changing our entire diet and routine and whatnot will be for the best!… But in reality, we can’t do it all.
And we definitely can’t do it all if we are used to doing nothing.
I challenge you this week to do just one thing that you need to do.
As someone who struggles with this daily, I know that the journey to self-love and self-care is hard, but it is worth it… Because you’re worth it.