self care

Self Care – A Non-Negotiable on the Road to Recovery, Renewal and Restoration

Ladies, I’ve an announcement to make:

The truth is: over the course of the last year I’ve struggled to practice what I’ve been preaching…

Pathetic admitting this, it seems the right thing to do.

I’d be lying to you if I led you to believe that I have this Menopause stuff conquered, when I have to wrestle with it every single day just like the rest of you.

Sure, I’ve devoted my life and career to learning everything I can about the process, but that in no way excludes me from having to take each step of the journey myself- right along with you.

The past 2 months have been especially trying physically and I’ve reached a place within myself where I realize it’s time for some major changes to take place, way deep in my core.

I’ve been giving it all lip-service, but now the time has come for solid implementation- and I’m finding myself quite frankly TIRED.

Just like the lyrics to that Billy Joel song: ‘We’re going wrong, we’re gaining weight, We’re sleeping long and far too late. And so it’s time to change our jaded ways …’

As I go through my daily tasks of home keeping, business dealings, relationship tending and worrying about my aging parents, I’ve been getting little nudges from my Inner Self, and she’s got some serious things to discuss with me. She means for me to shut up, listen and learn.

Menopause is met unfavorably by our youth-driven culture, and is also very often misrepresented.

Magazines, film and television all glorify youth, and women in their prime are viewed in rather unflattering stereotypical ways: as sex starved ‘cougars’ with only have their genitals to offer a relationship, or as hysterical desperate, dried up women sobbing in their kitchens while their husbands frolic with the secretary at the office.

Not terribly flattering. Who in their right mind would ever be able to find good in THAT?

But actually, Menopause truly is the greatest Reset Button life can possibly hurl your way. We just sometimes REALLY have to work to try to see it for what it actually is…

Coming at-what we perceive to be- the worst possible time; Fraught with responsibility, weighed down by cares and burdens, our schedules -like our pantyhose- packed too full and chafing, running like a gerbil on an exercise wheel, all the while longing-longing-longing for some peace… some stillness…a bit of ME Time, Menopause insists that we finally GET IT.

All you have to do is look around to find the Truth of the matter:

Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch, Diahann Carroll, Linda Evans, Helen Mirren, Suzanne Somers, Susan Lucci, Christie Brinkley, Iman, Bo Derek, Angela Bassett, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jamie Lee Curtis are no worse the wear, and these ladies are certainly never perceived as dried up old hags… so why on earth should we see ourselves as any less when we stand alone, naked, dripping and wincing at our reflection in the steamy bathroom mirror?

Granted, you may not have a movie star’s moolah to spend for personal trainers, private chefs, massage therapists, manicurists and facialists- but you don’t really need it. All you need is 10- 15 minutes a day- and the commitment to put YOURSELF on your To Do List, once and for all.

That simple act alone can -and will save your life, yet even I keep forgetting it!

That’s absolutely right. Just 10 minutes a day of self care can change your life, and in profound ways.

This is, quite frankly, a truth I had forgotten in the rush of my days and nights lately, and it is THE message my Inner Gal insists I get clear on ASAP.

Seems strange I would need to be reminded…

Throughout my career I’ve worked closely with burn and scar patients, cancer patients and battered women in DV shelters.

Most of these people have one thing in common: prior to their accident/illness/abusive relationship, they somehow managed to get themselves placed LAST on their list of priorities- if they even made the cut at all.

They allowed the needs and issues of others to knock their own needs and preferences off the list. Most of these folks couldn’t even find 5 minutes to comb their hair, brush their teeth or put face cream on they were so busy doing and being for others… until the big sledge hammer of Life pounded them into the pavement.

Getting these folks to take just 5 minutes per day to put on body lotion began- without fail- a powerful wave of transformation. 5 minutes becomes 10… 10 turns into 20 and before you realize it, you’re getting healthy and becoming free. Self esteem begins to gain a foothold and all of a sudden you’re making healthier choices, placing yourself first and gaining traction in life -and healing.

Are there just a few short tips women can implement in their daily lives to help squeeze in a few minutes of self care each day?

Absolutely! Nothing has to be huge or a big investment in either time or money.

If you watch the news at night or work at a desk during the day, place a small bottle of quality lotion either on the TV table where you keep the remote or in the drawer of your desk and take one to two minutes to stop what you’re doing and apply lotion, mindfully rubbing the lotion into your hands and cuticles while thinking loving thoughts …your hands are important to so many, and deserve to be pampered. Do this daily.

Instead of drinking coffee drinks or sodas all day, carry a small thermos of pure water with you and have some of that on a break instead. The hydration will be great for you.

Buy some facial cleansing cloths, a small jar of moisturizer and a small plastic wash tub. Fill the tub with warm water and a bit of bubble bath or Epsom salt and soak your feet while you cleanse your face and neck with the cloths and then apply your moisturizer. Soak your feet for 5 -10 minutes and gently massage your face and throat while you do so.

After 10 minutes dry off your feet, add a bit of lotion and put on a pair of socks, dump out the water and you’re done!

Even just buying yourself a special bar of soap or a special coffee mug goes a long way toward conveying to yourself ‘Hey- I matter!’

You get the idea: it doesn’t have to be a big deal, but start doing SOMETHING each day to help you feel like you are at least getting placed somewhere back on your List of Priorities!

Once your inner self knows you are listening and you care, it will start revealing more and more ways to pamper yourself in ways that really matter- and you will find your frustration and stress levels declining. This can’t help but be a good thing.

And lastly, it’s imperative to stop measuring yourself by the yardstick of your Youth. The simple truth is: we grow better with age, not worse.

We must embrace how far we’ve come on this life journey and drop all the pop culture hype. We may not have the prowess we did in our 20s but who would really WANT to?

I have a quote on my desk that I read often, and oddly enough it’s from an old Oil of Olay ad approximately 30 years ago:

‘How could you know when you were 20 and impossibly sexy- and unable to imagine yourself otherwise, that time would teach you something. That age is not a loss but an exchange: of wisdom for youth, grace for foolishness, love for lust.’

Realize that you are fabulous right here right now- just as you are. The real beauty of life is it makes us REAL.

I really suggest that every middle aged adult get their hands on the child’s classic fairytale ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams, sit down with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and read it cover to cover… really focusing on the words and the message.

Another great and important read for women is the classic masterpiece: ‘Gift from the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Both will turn your head around.

These may seem like silly things, but my Inner self has really been hammering them home to me lately, so I thought I’d share.

It’s time to BE, Ladies- and there’s no time like the present! So, take 2 minutes –and call me in the morning…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *