Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Give Yourself Permission

I read a great article today about wellness, and attitudes towards wellness. There was a section in there that really resonated with me, with quotes from Dr. Michelle Segar, who writes about the science of motivation and exercise. 

Here is the passage:

'Also important is giving oneself permission to make self-care through physical activity a priority. Dr. Segar wrote: “When we do not prioritize our own self-care because we are busy serving others, our energy is not replenished. Instead, we are exhausted, and our ability to be there for anyone or anything else is compromised.”'

I mean, how true is this?! In some bizarre, psycho twist of today's society, we do not give ourselves permission to prioritize our own self-care. It feels very true. We all know that exercise, that movement is important. It's essential. We know that it's good for our hearts, our brains, our circulation, our diabetes, whatever. Yet we still view it as essentially selfish, isolated, independent. It's rarely something we share with others, and it's not okay to prioritize it over many things. The idea of taking care of yourself so you can take care of others? Virtually nonexistent, and unfortunately this is especially true in the teaching world (and in others' view of the teaching world...).

Nowadays, people are very respectful of my needs to eat healthily and prioritize exercise, which is one of those weird "silver linings" of diabetes that I keep running into. While I really appreciate this, I also want to stress the importance of exercise so that you don't wind up with a chronic disease. There is so much wrong with policy and attitudes towards health in the U.S. today, and I really think this is a big one. Why why why do we only value our health once it's already endangered?! Why is preventative care selfish, when treatment here is bankruptingly expensive? Now, I'm not saying that every disease can be prevented, because obviously I have one that can't. But there are side effects that I can prevent. And there are millions of people with side effects of unhealthy living that could be prevented too. There's much more I can (and probably will) say on this topic, in terms of food deserts, institutional foods, and lack of access to resources (including safe outdoors space). 

But right now, I just want to ask you to give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Take care of those around you. Quit guilting yourself about your yoga habit and start appreciating the fact that you're spending money on something that really matters.  Don't think about the fact that your jog takes you away from the people you love and think about how much more time it actually gives you with them in the long run (the long run....see what I did there?). Get out of this mindset that you're only worth worrying about if you're already broken. 

No comments:

Post a Comment