Taking Care of You

Why is it that we tend to think that anything that smacks of self-care means we’re “indulging” ourselves? We feel we don’t deserve to waste the time and effort on activities that benefit only us. The fact is, we can’t take care of others effectively unless we take care of ourselves first, and most of us who have disabilities want to be as independent as possible. We can help do that by pampering ourselves a bit and doing so without feeling guilty about it.

During this pandemic, taking care of ourselves is critical. There is a lot of stress associated with trying to avoid the virus, such as remembering to wear a mask every time you go into a business place, or having medical appointments in virtual time rather than face-to-face. Finding ways to pamper ourselves, such as a night out at the movies or going out for dinner, aren’t possible at this time. We need to put some effort into caring for ourselves and not feel guilty over it.

That said, there are many things you can do to pamper yourself. I guess the first thing would be to start taking care of yourself and stop the unhealthy behaviors. Like many other people, I’ve spent the past 9 or 10 months feasting on comfort foods. I moved in with my sister, and we take turns cooking, but we’ve tended to make most of our meals those yummy delights that are high in calories and low in nutrition. I can make some real strides towards pampering myself just by switching to eating healthy foods. They can still be “comfort” foods, but just less of the high fat meals and more of the nutritional powerhouse kind.

Exercise is another area many of us have neglected since this pandemic started. What can you do when the aquatic center closes? Answer: get out and walk! There are a lot of new programs out there now where social distancing is built right in, and if you’re not comfortable doing that, there are always exercise programs on television where you can participate.

If you need permission to pamper yourself, you have it! Taking care of yourself is a way to help prevent contracting the virus. Eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise, and spending more time with the friends and family members that make you feel good about yourself are good ways to take care of you. These aren’t selfish behaviors, they are the best ways to stay healthy and able to withstand any health crisis that comes along.

So, call a friend and talk about something other than COVID-19 or work. Share a good movie with your family members. Get out in that cold, bracing air and take a brisk walk! Eat healthy foods first, then add in a little comfort food if you must. Spend an hour taking a hot, bubble bath, or just sitting with the headphones on and listening to your favorite music. It’s okay; you deserve it, and you’ll be better for it!

If you’d like more information on ways to take care of yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact Disability Network Lakeshore at 616-396-5326.