None of us needs more pressure. I think it is safe to say we are barraged with information on how we can do just about everything better...not exactly a confidence booster. We are told to work harder/smarter/longer, eat green, exercise more, have cleaner houses, exhibit more patience, and please, call your grandmother more often. Well I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted! Instead of putting more pressure on ourselves in our busy world, can we all just stop and remember that we, as caregivers, also need to be cared for?
Last summer, I pulled up to a large, looming building with Moe in tow. We were at one of the world’s finest children’s hospitals to see a specialist who follows him. I choose to take him to this guy once a year a little farther away from home because he is pretty remarkable, and I like the way he helps care for Moe. Yet on this particular day, it struck me hard how hypocritical it was. Here I was seeking out the best for my kid, taking extra time to research this and that, while I had not even been to the doctor in (gasp) several years. Sure, I do my annual visits for specific body parts (eyes, skin, etc.), but I hadn’t had a physical exam in years.
Truth be told, I’m a nervous nelly when it comes to my own health. I worry that going to the doctor will tell me there is something really wrong with me. Like something where I wouldn’t get to see my kids grow up into grown ups, or wouldn’t get to play tennis with my husband when we are old. I’ve seen it happen to friends, I’ve seen it while working in hospitals, and it has happened in my own family. So, despite being in good health, my fear is, it will happen to me.
So after calling myself a hypocrite, that afternoon, I made an appointment for a physical exam. And several weeks later when I got the results of my blood work, the weight of the world fell off my shoulders. I had such profound relief, and felt ridiculous for worrying and avoiding this for so long. I know it isn’t a guarantee the unthinkable won’t happen to me; but I did my part, and that felt good. And you know what? If my results had not been favorable, I was ready to face that and do something about it, which was empowering as well.
I share this embarrassing story about myself because several friends have told me they feel similarly. Maybe you haven’t been to the doctor recently either. So let’s make 2015 the year to take better care of ourselves. Knowing our numbers is an important way to care for ourselves as well as the people we take care of. The American Heart Association's "Know your Numbers" refers to knowing your blood sugar, blood pressure, lipid profile (HDL, LDL and total Cholesterol), and BMI. Check it out here.
As I thought more about it, there are other ways I want to take better care of myself this year. I think embracing things that nourish (pun intended) us, and avoiding things that add stress is essential. Here are ten of my ideas for 2015.
1. DEAR - Drop Everything and Read. My kids do it, and I’m doing it too! So great!
2. Stop checking – Set timeframes where the iPhone is put away (for me it is after school with my kids). Instagram can wait!
3. Workout buddy - I’ve never talked or enjoyed running so much! (well, before the polar vortex that is).
4. Start a new hobby – mine is photography! I’ve got a stack of books and a new camera. We’ll see how it goes!
5. Vegetable gardening, take two!
6. Call an old friend (or two) you wish you spoke to more often
7. Reconnect with your spirituality
8. Find an organization that speaks to you, and volunteer
9. Organize and declutter the house and therefore, your life
10. Blog more!
How will you take better care of yourself this year?
I don’t believe in the pseudoscience behind cleanses or detoxing. I do, however, believe in nourishing smoothies all year round. Try my Green Goddess Smoothie (below), filled with nourishment just for you!
Annie’s Green Goddess Smoothie
½ cup plain greek nonfat yogurt*
2 cups baby spinach
½ apple chopped
1 banana, chopped
¼ avocado, chopped
½ cup nonfat milk
*Siggis plain is my favorite!
Place in Vitamix or blender, and puree. Enjoy!