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You Must Self-Care First

Within several days of each other, I learned that one non-profit leader and friend was hospitalized twice for severe health problems and another friend was hospitalized and incapacitated after suffering a stroke at a conference. As I thought about living this life once and wanting to live it with an excellent quality of life, I reflected on if I was rendering quality self-care to and for myself. My answer to my own question was not complete. I make sure that I exercise every day, and I take a nap during most evenings. Unfortunately, I must improve in three areas, with the understanding that there are other areas to consider.

First, I must improve my thoughts or thinking. I must wake up, live and go to bed with an attitude of gratitude. Being the oldest of three Pentecostal denomination pastor kids, I would often hear a song that had the lyrics, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice for He has made glad.” My takeaway from that song is that the day is not about me and my attitude should be one of gratitude regardless of the situations I face. My thoughts control my outlook on life and my actions. I work with someone who will say that we have to change our stinking thinking.

Second, I can improve my eating habits and hydrate with water more regularly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people with healthy eating patterns live longer and are at lower risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. For people with chronic diseases, healthy eating can help manage these conditions and prevent complications. The World health organization says that a healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. It protects you against many chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugars and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for healthy diet. Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons. Regular hydration regulates body temperature, keeps joints lubricated, prevents infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. I will take food items I do not eat because I don’t like them and put the into a blender to make a smoothie.

Third, I need to improve my sleeping pattern, get more hours of continual sleep. According to the National Institute of Health, good sleep improves your brain performance, mood, and health. Not getting enough quality sleep regularly, seven hours a night for adults, raises the risk of many diseases and disorders. These range from heart disease and stroke to obesity and dementia. During my undergraduate college years, I developed a habit of going to sleep listening to the radio, and now the television has replaced the radio. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I should make sure that my bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.

“Your Life, Your Voice” from Boystown recommends these additional tips. Tell yourself that you do matter; Be extra nice to yourself; Be patient with yourself; Invest in yourself; Recognize when you are in problems over your head; Say no to situations or people that you know could trigger you in a negative way; Think about things that happened in the past, and learn from them so you don't repeat the same pattern; Focus forward; and Be proud of yourself.

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