Last week my preschooler wanted to dance with me. So I picked a nice playlist on Apple Music and attempted to join her wild jump-dance skills. But with every single jump-step I felt a bolt of lightning shooting across my back and through my hips, as if my body was about to snap in half.
Apparently health declines a lot faster than I wanted to believe.
It started years before already with terrible stomach pains shortly after said wildly-dancing preschooler was born.
The anxious person I am, I decided to go see my doctor. She tapped my stomach, tapped my back and attempted to send me home with a brown glass bottle filled with herbal gastro-tincture to reduce my “gas”.
Sitting across from her in the pale office, for the probably one-hundreth of times I asked her if she didn’t want to do any additional testing. I was getting to the point of not wanting to eat in fear of needles punching me from the inside.
So, slightly exasperated, she said: “Mrs Rušev, this happens with older age.”
I walked out, clasping the bottle in one hand and my stomach with the other. In the car driving home, I told my husband.
He laughed and said half joking, half stating in disbelief: “You’re 24. You’re middle-aged at most.”
I went to see another doctor. And another who finally took me seriously and ordered all the tests in the world. Without any outcome.
Being prodded, tested and observed until… Well, I didn’t see the point anymore.
My turning point.
So as I was lying on our living room floor the other day, back in agonising pain, with a crazy preschooler dancing pretty much in my face – I cried.
I really, really wanted to dance with that cute thing bowing over me. “Mama, why are you crying?”
Me: “Because I want to dance with you.”
Her: “So come one! You’re doing a good job!”
And I wanted to tell her no, her mama hadn’t been doing a good job at all.
This is what I’ve been doing wrong:
In fact I’ve been doing a miserable job at making my health a priority in this house. I’m always behind the kids and my husband (and my business…), but don’t feel like I need to stop to consider myself for even a second.
So right then and right there, I vowed to her: “I’m going to do a good job, and then I’ll dance with you. Pinky promise.”
Later that night I cuddled up under my favourite heavy furry blanket. Armed with a piece of paper, pencil and the leftovers of what once used to be my teddy bear (hey, don’t pretend your chewed off bunny isn’t hiding under your pillow, too), I wrote down 5 reasons why I should take care of my health.
I’m sure many women struggle with the idea of putting themselves and their health FIRST, so I want to share why both you and me deserve to care for our wellness, happiness and general joy in life:
5 Good Reasons I Decided to Focus on My Self-Care:
My physical health is meh
This is probably the most obvious one in the history of mankind. I’m aware.
But truthfully it’s not much fun to have your body tell you day in, day out how unwell it is.
I’m tired. Always. I wake up in the morning feeling as if I was hit by a truck. Multiple times. All night long. AND I suffer from insomnia. Not a great combination.
I have the worst skin. They say acne stops when you turn 20? Well, my body certainly didn’t get the message. It’s a cosmetic and vain-ish problem – but it affects my self-confidence so, so much.
My digestion definitely wasn’t feeling so good before I started, either. And I have some more concerning issues, too.
If for nothing else, it’s definitely time to start focussing on my wellness to attempt healing these physical aspects. And it’s MY responsibility to care for myself. I better get started yesterday.
My body deserves all the respect
This goddess shell of mine grew and birthed two babies. Then it fed both babies (and still does the little one).
It writes, it cooks, it laughs, it cries, it carries, it wishes, it swears, it thinks, it thinks too much, it reads, it sings, it cuts avocado toast into perfect pre-schooler approved bites. It is just all around doing a wonderful job at living my life.
Why, oh why am I disrespecting it so much, then? I have well and truly beaten her up enough by going through years of exercise addiction and disordered eating.
I have decided to stop this nonsense and focus on treating my body with respect.
I want to nourish it with vibrant food. Strengthen it with gentle movement. Give it rest. Give it sleeeeep (please kid, sleep through the night already).
I’m grateful to have a body, and I want to treat it like I mean it.
I want to be more resilient
We all want to be better at doing things like dealing with stress or just generally being an adult with responsibilities and a job and things. You know?
I just want to be able to handle life more peacefully. Not be so anxious and stressed out allll the time.
And most of all I want to be there for my kids, my husband, family, friends and my entire community.
I’m definitely not there right now. I don’t have the capacities to deal well with stressful situations or spur-of-the-moment things. And seriously, that’s basically what life IS when you have little kids.
So, yes. I want to focus on my wellness so I can do all that adulting stuff better.
I need to get back my inner glow and peace
I’m definitely lacking inner happiness, peace and harmony.
I want to become a more balanced person and fell well all around.
I’m a firm believer in the theory that inner peace brings harmony to all aspects of your life.
And the best part (this one is for you ladies who keep saying “but my kids! my boyfriend! my boss! (no way, your boss should never be more important than your health!)”: When we feel empowered from within, we can bring those feelings to those around us.
In short: If you feel well, you have the power to make others feel amazing, too.
The most important one.
So… This is hard for me to type out.
But here goes:
I’m worth it. Damn it, every single fibre of my entire being is worth being cared for.
I’m terrible when it comes to self-love. Self-worth? What is that even.
I’m challenging myself to learn how to put myself first. How to put on my oxygen mask first. I’m learning to love myself.
I recently told my husband Brani that I haven’t seen myself in the mirror for years. Sure, I look at my reflection in the morning and in the evening, and sometimes in between.
But I don’t SEE see myself. Working on that, brb.
So, there you have it.
5 very good reasons why self-care is worth anyones time.
WE as women have it within us to live our best lives possible. Sadly, we’re also very good at neglecting ourselves, finding excuses why other things or people are more important and why we just can’t possibly spend any time/money/love on ourselves.
But we need to realise that there is no pouring from an empty cup. If we keep neglecting ourselves, at some point we will have no time, money or love to give to anyone else, either – because we burn out.
Let’s work on this. Let’s be gentle to ourselves. Let’s be nice, for once.
Go look into the mirror. Look at yourSELF. And tell yourself how amazing you are.
If you’ll excuse me now, I need to go work on those mad jump-dance skills to rock the house with my preschooler. Bad back and all.