It was in December 2009 that I was first told to seriously start to take care of myself. I was at an all-time low and my last son was barely 5 months old. That year was a very troubled one for me, having attempted suicide some 9/10 months earlier. The good side of all that low was my readiness to try another way now… This way I came to realize involved ME taking care of ME and I mean very Good Care. This has come to justify Self Care as being the Best Care to me lol.
Today, living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), I don’t joke with self care. I listen to and love my body, I don’t wait for any issue to get out of hand and maybe land me in the hospital or keep me bedridden for days. Some things I did to take better care of myself and which I would recommend to others, are the following:
1) Working out – this is VIP for me
I weighed 115kgs by 2009, had not worked out for like 15 years or more, ate like a ‘hoax’, hoping it will choke my ex husband up…do you visualize me at this point? And so on the 1st of January 2010, while the world slept after St Silvester’s shenanigans, while ex husband was yet to return from his jives, I stepped out at 3.30 am for my 1st walk. I had also decided to start a 30 days fast (had never done one before)…, and all my pain/hurt/and oh so so much, were in those first fearless steps. This is the origin of my love affair with determination + discipline and determination (my 3Ds) …8 years later, swagging between 70-77kgs, I have overcome so much and can now do so much. Working out is simply nonnegotiable for me now… I have still been through a few days in a stretch where I can’t work out due to a health flare up (whichever it is P for physical or M for mental; doesn’t really matter to/for me), but then I always know it shall pass, I keep at the self care and I go right back to working out once the spirit is back …
2) My health + holistic wellbeing are my priority
The same friend who encouraged me to work out, was amazed at all the medications I was on. I was taking at least 4 different meds for the RA and sleep issues+anxiety, although over all no improvement was being recorded. I look back today and think the over eating could have also been due to the side effects of those meds. Anyways, I heeded to his advice and started weaning myself off the meds with ‘vengeance’. I started searching for alternative remedies for my symptoms and after two years of meds, I was ready to try even cayenne pepper if it got to that. Eating healthy became an obsession. I have carried a lunch bag almost religiously since then. It was tough working on the sleep especially while still in a very toxic marriage, I just had to sleep during the day either in the office or at an aunt’s home near my office.
3) I reached out for professional help
The next and biggest self care habit I embraced was in knowing when to reach out for professional help, and then doing just that. You can only take good care of yourself so much. There comes that point when you need ‘professional help’. I had succeeded in salvaging myself from that ‘sham and shame’ of a marriage, and was finally in a place where I could start a healing journey. I was meeting Angels on my path and my Gentleman encouraged me to seek ‘professional help’ for all what I told him about me. No more energy to strive on without help, I first hired a life coach. I call that the best investment I ever made for ME. My Hero Jeff Moore, oh God bless him forever, helped me so so much. Next, I booked appointments with a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. That was so much self care, self love, self acceptance and all things self… And come to think of all this Amazing work and Grace by which I have become a life coach and psychotherapist too!
4) I read and write passionately
In September 2012 I got the writing bug for my first memoir. I couldn’t sleep at night and seriously wrote each day from 12 am to 2 am – God knows how my brain didn’t explode. Lord, the writing was needed to calm me down some. It felt real good. I am so happy for that because today I have 5 books which I self-published in the past 5 years wow. In November of 2013, Blogging joined the mix by some curiosity, and that has been another big outlet for me to write down whatever and then process same whenever need arises. This has also led me above all, to network and read about people whose journeys are hmm… I have a great support system from the blogosphere, I became more aware of myself and my journey and its impact on me and mine, I even got more inspiration and motivation from all the writing. One super way writing and blogging help me take care of me is that, when am struggling or just feeling anyhow, I start to write and somehow start healing. It’s been simply amazing all that has happened since I started writing and blogging so passionately. I even rebaptized myself “merry marie” and have strived to live up to that one day at a time hahaha. I just make sure to find a balance and not let my gadgets or social media take me hostage lol
5) Finding Self-Love and My Me Moments
One of the pictures in the gallery show me in My Me Moments ambiance. I mean, what should I write again about those moments? Once I found the truest and best love right where I had failed to look all along – inside; once I realized my best friend (Ayo aka myself) and I could give each other as many treats as we wanted or needed; ah it’s been a great source of self care, rest, recuperation, re-bonding and re-bouncing…I am so comfy just being with me even in the company of others…call that what you wish, self -love is my own appellation.
6) Going & Living Spiritual all the way
This was a gradual process, I mean not going religious but spiritual. I have come to embrace intermittent fasts, meditation, retreats, and courted some like Patience & Humility with love. The lessons I have learned, all I have given up, conquered and the new me who emerged in spirit, soul and body – God am Grateful beyond words. This was the next best investment in my self care.
7) Staying ever mindful of new habits and weary of all toxic stuffs
All I have learned and am now implementing, both personally and in my psychotherapy practice, have made me very mindful. I sleep as much as I can at night (often 9 pm – 4 am, turning all those gadgets off), I have my serene and safe space (my loo no shame lol), I don’t sweat the small stuffs especially at home with my 3 muskeets, I know my temperature and feel it, literally learned to walk confidently and speak in a proper way and tone. Today, I take my time to reply to any ‘perceived attack sms/emails’ (once took 7 days and another time 30 days, and others I ignore outright); in short I don’t go near anything toxic consciously. I have bashed my ego and ditched perfection, I am not fazed by food or fashion…I could go on and on…I have a great support system and I really appreciate all those in my support network. I realize taking care of myself will equally limit the risk of wearing them out when I need them.
I therefore do not hesitate to encourage others to give self care their best shot. I mean, even the medical doctor will advise their patient to do other things which will help them get well sooner and not just rely wholly on taking medications and staying in bed. For high functioning and sensitive persons like myself therefore, self care should really be the best care or else risk a big burn out.