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Focus on Self-Care to Enhance Your Health

Recently I have been contemplating why self-care is such a difficult task to embrace and am curious to hear what you think about this subject via my age-well-be-well.com blog. As I work with clients I'm discovering that often a combination of several factors hamper self-care.  These factors include expectations established by the current healthcare system, life balance issues and personal beliefs.

Our healthcare system today is dominated by the diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease. This focus has resulted in our healthcare revolving largely around our primary care providers (medical doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant). The resulting expectation is that this provider will tell us what is wrong and prescribe a treatment or medication to cure or treat what ails us. While this medical care is essential it often overshadows the responsibility each of us has to our own self-care.
In addition, self-care requires that we increase awareness about our own health needs and take steps daily to meet them. At a basic level this requires making good choices about how we use and what we put into our body and mind. Self-care requires knowledge of what to do but also a willingness to invest in self. This "self-investment" is especially difficult when our work and family commitments demand so much of our time and energy. There often doesn't seem to be any time left over to care for self.

Taking the time to care for self not only requires an investment in our time and energy but also slowing down long enough to become aware of the needs of our body, mind and spirit. So often in the past when I found myself ill, I realized in retrospect that my body had given me messages or cues about it's needs but I just didn't listen. Sometimes I was aware of those hints and choose to ignore them. Sometimes I was going so fast that I didn't even hear them. How often has this happened to you?
Beliefs also influence our ability to commit to self-care. Perhaps early life experiences suggested serving others was valued or focusing on self was selfish. Such experiences often create underlying and unconscious beliefs that inhibit our ability to make a commitment to self-care.

Do you have any self-care goals that roll over repeatedly into your New Year's resolution? Goals like exercising more or eating better that you seriously want to do, know how to do but never actually get around to doing.  If so, you are not alone but finding the capacity to actually accomplish these goals will likely require more than just more discipline.  Instead consider looking deeper into what beliefs might be feeding your inaction.  Explore a vision for your life based on deep values that motivate how you want to be.



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Reader Comments (2)

I think there are many reasons why we have problems with our own self health care. It coud be money issues or family issues, depression. Whatever it is, it's most likely deep rooted and hard to reach unless we unfold and let people help us. My aunt reached one hundred years of age this past week and she feels she was just plain lucky. Really!? There must be other factors beside just plain luck. She was a blessed with high IQ and went to college when most women didn't and blessed with good genes. The good genes must be the luck part.She has done everything "in moderation". Spending money wisely, eating in moderation, giving advice to others carefully and with great concern for their well being.I think because of our own personal issues, trying to focus on self-care health is quite a challenge for many of us, but if we were to get some of that good luck my aunt got we can at least try to focus on our years ahead!

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJO'B

I enjoyed your thoughtful comments and agree that focusing on self-care is a challenge but definitely one worth taking on! Your aunt was blessed with good genes but it sounds as though she also did many things to care for herself and I'm certain this contributed as much if not more to her longevity then those lucky genes! In fact, the most recent research on longevity suggests that genes are only responsible for about 20% of how long we live and the quality of those years. The other 80% is the result of our behaviors and lifestyle decisions. The good news is that it's never too late to make better lifestyle choices and almost always there is a pay off for healthy behaviors. Thanks for taking the time to share your insights and "drop coins" in The Age Well!


September 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterPaula Koppel

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