Self-care is a popular buzz word, it's of the moment and the analogy of putting on your own oxygen mask first, in order to care for others is well used. However, for years I struggled with the term 'self-care' and the thought of putting myself first. Why? Because it has been engrained in me from childhood that we always put others before ourselves. Self-care, to me, was selfish.
Well, that was until I had a nervous breakdown, and I couldn't care for anyone, precisely because I had put myself last on my never ending to do list.
But let's go back in time before that to an appointment I had when renewing my life insurance. I am sat with my husband, answering the usual questions - when do you plan to retire? How is your health? Do you see your circumstances changing? etc. etc. All was routine and going well. Until the gentleman asked us both - what do you do outside of your job, do you have any hobbies or take part in regular activities? Well, my husband could say a few, such as going to the gym, running, playing his guitar, surfing, climbing, hiking...
But when it came to my turn to speak, I drew a blank. I thought 'looking after my children isn't considered a hobby, is it?!' I didn't even read books for pleasure anymore, I didn't run, play tennis or ride a bike. I sat there, not knowing what to say. I felt empty and sad that my life came down to just getting through each day. A treadmill of getting up, racing to work, rushing home, spending an hour with my children before putting them to bed, and then zoning out in front of TV programs I didn't even enjoy until it was bedtime.
I left the appointment with more than new life insurance cover. I walked out of that meeting with a deep knowing that th