by Dr. Tina Marcantel
Most of us live pretty busy lives. A typical list of responsibilities for the people I meet might include
*caring for young (or even adult) children
*caring for a spouse
*caring for an aging parent
*providing emotional support for friends and family members
*working at a job and a career
*working as a volunteer for various charities
…and the list goes on. Sound familiar? But do you notice an important item that is not on the list? What about “caring for MYSELF”?
If you didn’t think of that one, don’t feel bad; it’s an item many people don’t include. We often get so caught up in the busy-ness of life and in making sure everyone around us is provided for that we neglect to take time for our own personal well being. The problem with that attitude, of course, is that when we sacrifice our own physical and emotional health we are no longer able to effectively help those around us.
As a healthcare provider, I see this story repeated on an almost daily basis. Women and men who have invested huge amounts of time, money, and energy in trying to meet the needs of all of their “obligations,” but who have reached the end of their ropes because they haven’t invested in their own health needs. Often that means that they’ve let a chronic condition like a hormonal imbalance, thyroid condition, or adrenal insufficiency progress to the point that it has become debilitating.
When people do reach the point of knowing they need to seek help, they are often reluctant for many reasons. Some–particularly women–may think it’s “selfish” to put their own needs first. Others may have a hard time seeing their health as a priority; they think, “I’ll do it when I get back from vacation” or “when the kids are back in school” or “when I can better afford it” or “when I’ve met all my other obligations.” What they are forgetting is that by taking care of their own needs now, they will enjoy a better overall quality of life and be able to pass that sense of well being on to those around them.
Over and over I have heard from my patients, “Dr. Marcantel, I’m feeling so much better now that I have more energy and I’m sleeping better. I wish I had invested in my health a long time ago!” Is it time to take a look at your own “To Do” list and maybe rearrange some priorities?