With the pandemic, Mother’s Day definitely won’t
be the same this year, and most of us won’t be celebrating with flowers,
brunches, or family gatherings. But to be honest, taking one single day a year
to focus on yourself isn’t enough. You need to honor and care for yourself
every day. Make this Mother’s Day the day you choose to start focusing on your
own health. Here’s why.
Caring for Others While Sacrificing Ourselves
As women, we have a tendency to be caretakers. Look at me. I’m a caretaker by nature. And as a nurse, I’m also a caretaker by profession. Sadly, caretakers are often unhealthy. This is especially true among nurses, according to a 2016 study in Nursing Research and Practice, which found that:
Do you think being stressed, sleep-deprived, and sluggish from junk food makes them better nurses? No, it doesn’t.
As caretakers, we have this notion that if we’re going to tend
to the health of other people, we must sacrifice ourselves. We frame it as some
sort of noble act. This is nonsense.
You’ve heard the cliché that you need to put your own
oxygen mask on first before helping others. It’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché
for a reason. It’s true!
You can’t help other people—your elderly parents, your
spouse, your children, your church group, your friends, your Brain Warrior
tribe—if you don’t take care of yourself first. You won’t have the energy,
motivation, or emotional fortitude to be there for them when they need you.
We understand this on a logical level, but the problem for
most of us is that our values are out of alignment. And that holds us back from
caring for ourselves.
Get Your Values in Alignment
When I was an ICU nurse and later as a mother, I didn’t
realize my values were totally out of whack. I had to really do deep values
work to become conscious of the fact that I was putting everybody else first
before myself. I valued other people’s health more than my own. In my world at
that time, my values were God, family, health. But that wasn’t correct.
It took me a long time to accept that I needed to re-align
my values. It has to be God, health, family. I finally realized that I needed
to take care of my own health first, so I could be my best to have the energy
to take care of my patients, my family, my friends, and you—my Brain Warrior
In my lifetime, I’ve been sick. I’ve had cancer—multiple
times—and I’ve had to endure 10 medical surgeries. During these times, I was
down and out and of absolutely no help to anyone. In order for me to be able to
take care of others, I have to take care of myself. For me, this means taking
the time to exercise, eat right, get adequate sleep, and say my prayers and
I do it because I’m worth it. And so are you!
Taking care of your own health and well-being isn’t
selfish. It’s the only way you’ll be able to care for the people you love. It’s
also the greatest gift you can give your children.
Why Being a Good Mom Means Being Good to Yourself
Every Mom knows that kids don’t do what you tell them. Decades of scientific research prove it! Studies, including a study in Royal Society Open Science, show that children imitate adult behavior, meaning your kids are going to mimic what you do.
So if you’re thinking, “I’m sacrificing myself for my
children,” then you’re effectively teaching them to sacrifice themselves in the
future. They’re going to think that neglecting their own health is normal
behavior. You’ll be setting up your kids to become adults who don’t take care
If you want your kids to treat themselves—their brains and
their bodies—with respect, then you need to be a good role model and start
taking care of yourself. What better day to begin dedicating yourself to your
own brain health, physical fitness, mental well-being, and spiritual strength than
Mother’s Day? Think of it as a gift to yourself and to everyone you love.
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