WOMEN – Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

Often, women do not make time to take care of themselves. We are so busy taking care of others -spouses, children, parents, neighbors, charities – that we find ourselves at the bottom of our “to do” list. A while ago I gave a talk to women on the board of a large charity about this very issue. All agreed that they had to do a better job; one woman, the husband of a physician, hadn’t had a mammogram or pap smear in years and said she just never got to it. While that may be an extreme example, I think there are some things that we can do in the name of self-care to try to work our way back up to the top of our list.  

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Here are some examples:
• Have better boundaries and say no sometimes
• Sit down and eat with the family instead of multi-tasking and eating your children’s leftovers
• Take 5 minutes to sit and relax, meditate, deep breathe
• Pay attention to your fatigue level, and stop running and doing before you get to the crash point
• Plan your day the night before, and make sure that there is time for you on the list
• Take a walk and appreciate nature, even when the chaos feels overwhelming
• Make a list of five things you like to do, and note the last time you did them – make sure to put them on your to-do list
• Spend unstructured time with your children when you are not car-pooling, cooking, or doing homework with them
• Call a friend you have not talked to in a while and sit down while you talk (not in the car!)
• Listen to music that makes you feel good
• Ask your partner to do more if you are carrying most of the weight
• Take a break from electronics
Obviously, the list could be longer and what would work might be different for each of us. Sometimes I encounter women who schedule exercise into their day but are so over-scheduled that they are running to and from the gym and thus don’t get the maximum effect even from their exercise. Taking a good look at our own lives and thinking about how to make it better can be the best gift we can give ourselves.

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