blog - forced to put self first

Stop Waiting to Take Care of Yourself Until You're Forced To...

It’s not often that I talk about my own medical issues, but when it meshes so much with my everyday life, I’m a bit surprised it doesn’t come up more often.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m AWFUL at putting myself first; there’s a tiny human with extra needs that is always demanding my attention, plus my business, a house to maintain, and also a husband that can sometimes (most times?) be a second child. With the never-ending list of things to do and needs to be met, it’s no wonder that laundry sits (clean!) in the baskets usually for a week or so, and that I’m always stressed out.

Well, the downside with that is that, coupled with being Type 1 Diabetic, can be a bit dangerous. On the days that are just a bit more stressful than the rest, one of the first things I do is consume more coffee + eat less regularly / not the smartest choices. 

So a few weeks ago, after the stomach flu + colds had left my house, I had a few of these days in a row as I was scrambling trying to get all caught up with work and the house. It seems the flu hadn’t totally left my body yet at this point, as my higher blood sugars triggered it to do something chaotic in my body and by Saturday night, there was never-ending vomit. It wasn’t until around 1:30am that a metallic taste started to appear and it was time to head to the emergency room.

The metallic taste means the potential start of ketoacidosis, which can be a very serious complication if not treated right away. Essentially, your body starts breaking down fat way too fast, your liver turns those fats into ketones, which in turn turns your blood acidic. 

This happened once before a few years after I was first diagnosed and had to go to the ER then, too, so I knew this time I wasn’t going to wait so long. There’s no way to stop the vomiting once it’s started without medical intervention. Luckily, I only had two instances of vomiting while in the waiting room and once admitted, I got something to stop it right away and then 2 litres of fluid to rehydrate and I was sent home.

Essentially, what this is all to reiterate is that regardless if you have a medical issue that really requires you to take care of yourself, it shouldn’t take something like a hospital visit to remind you to look after yourself. 

The following week I forced myself to take it slower, take a nap or two during the day, and not work too late each night. It’s so hard when work is always top of mind and clients are relying on you.

But do you know what else?

They also understand that you’re human. You’re allowed to get sick. And really, so long as you aren’t doing this every other week, you can just tell them that you’re not feeling your best and need to take a few days at a slower pace. Most of them (if not all!) will respect that and give you the time and space you need to recover. In my instance, I had no problem sharing what happened with a few of my clients and they completely backed off for a few days. It’s so refreshing to have such amazing clients who trust you and want you to be well.

Our challenge for ourselves this month is having a few weeks at a bit of a slower pace, as we are not yet feeling 100%, and truly listening to my body and what it needs.

Even once next month comes around (there’s just something about a fresh start each month!), we’ll be blocking out a couple of multi-hour chunks throughout the week to allow for rest and other activities. We’ve been so hyperfocused lately that we’re overcommitting and overscheduling ourselves – and it’s not sustainable.

Plan a day, at least once per month, to take “off” and to have for yourself. We did that earlier this year and for some reason, that got tossed aside, but it was absolutely amazing and gave us time to recharge that wasn’t on a weekend.

Rather than self-care which somehow picked up a selfish element to it, you can think of it as regular maintenance: for your mind + body.

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