Self-care is something I’ve really been trying to focus on lately.
First and foremost, I’m in my mid 40s. And when I say MID-40s, I mean right smack in the middle. I’m 45, and once I pass October, I’ll officially be closer to 50 than 40.
I don’t mind, really. I find this time in my life to be very empowering. I am beginning to get a sense of who I am and what I want in life. However, I am also feeling my lack of self-care over the past few years.
When you hit your 40s and beyond, I believe you can still be fit and healthy and feel amazing like you did in your 20s and 30s — you just have to work a hell of a lot harder for it. And if you let it slide, like I did, it’s harder than ever to get it back.
Through most of my 30s I ate SUPER healthy and I ran regularly. I also didn’t have a car for much of that time, so there was a lot more walking and biking. Then I got to a point where I wanted to up my work hours and really increase my income, and guess what?
Everything in terms of self-care fell by the wayside.
I’ve learned that even when you’re self-employed and work from home, working more hours will cause you to neglect the things that are good for you. I honestly believe I would get up from my desk more often if I worked for someone else.
If I’m bogged down with work, I will end up not taking the breaks I should take, not doing ANY exercise at all, and then it happens. I get out of any good self-care I happened to be in (which really wasn’t much for many years). My lower back starts killing me. I get stiff and walk like I’m 85, instead of 45. And I realize, shit I need to actually move my body.
Then there is the diet. Now, overall, I eat well. Lots of fresh foods. I’ve recently cut out red meat entirely. I don’t drink pop or eat a lot of candy. What I do like, however, are chai latte and baked goods. If it has icing on it, OMG I have to have it.
Now, five or six years ago, I began to go through the bouts of extreme exhaustion. Sometimes for a week at a time, I would have no energy to get through my day. I’d go to bed by 8:30, sleep 10-12 hours, and feel like I hadn’t slept in a month.
All my blood work checked out. Nothing the rheumatologist could see was an issue. Everything seemed fine. My doctor agreed it must be chronic fatigue syndrome.
But let me tell you, when I cut down on my refined sugar and grain intake a few months ago — problem solved! Add some exercise to that and I am beginning to feel like a new me, or rather the old me. It’s going to take some time, but I’ll get there.
I have started running every other day and Buddha bowls are becoming very popular in my house. I don’t each much sugar at all now and I don’t crave sugar the way I did, which sometimes I lament because when I see baked goods I don’t really want, they look so amazing I wish I wanted them.
Honestly, as a freelancer working from home on my own all day, I really have to push myself to take breaks, get some exercise, and eat well. I have to push myself to take care of myself. Of course, being a single mother on top of it all makes it even more challenging to find the time and energy for self-care.
I honestly feel that as a freelancer, working alone from home all day, that it’s incredibly easy to neglect myself — perhaps easier than if I was working outside the home. What do you think? Do you find it challenging too? I’d love to hear your experience 🙂