Self-Care Is Not Selfish
May 02, 2018
By Lisa Lowery MSN RN OCN, Breast Health Navigator at the Community Cancer Center
With Mother’s Day coming up, I want to remind all mothers that taking time to care for yourself is very important. I know we all have heard the saying, “a mother’s needs come last,” and to some extent they do. As mothers, we naturally take on the caregiver role and spend our time caring for our kids, spouses, parents, etc. Many times, we do this without complaint and maybe even without any help. As a mother myself, don’t forget that your wellbeing is just as important as others; you need to take the opportunity to put yourself and your health back on your priority list.
Mothers need to find the time to focus on their physical wellbeing, and what better day should we use as a reminder than Mother’s Day. It is a good time for you to schedule a yearly wellness visit with a primary care physician. During this visit you should ask for a clinical breast exam and an order for a mammogram if you are of the age to receive one and have not had one within the last year. It is possible that your physician would order blood work and other testing if needed. Having a yearly wellness visit should be thought of as a necessity for mothers, especially those with any family history of chronic illnesses or cancer.
There are other ways that you can put self-care back into your schedule. Yes, being a mother is a 24/7 job. However, in the middle of all the craziness, you need to find ways to de-stress. Remember that self-care is not selfish. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. It is recommended that busy mothers take time out of the day for just yourself. I know this can be difficult, but really all you need is 10 to 20 minutes. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are focusing on yourself. A couple suggestions would be to take a quick walk around the block, read a chapter in a book, listen to a podcast, meditate, or just reflect/relax in peace and quiet with a little aromatherapy.
Asking for and accepting help is another way to find more time for yourself. Accepting help from others could leave you with more than 10 minutes of “me” time each day. If you have small children, why not plan play dates with other moms where you each take turns having the children at your house so the other moms are able to take time for themselves. Finding a gym with childcare so you can do a 30 to 60-minute workout would also be a way to find time for yourself.
No matter what you do this Mother’s Day, use it as a reminder to celebrate not only your role as a mother and caregiver but also on making your own health and wellbeing a priority.
The Community Cancer Center offers a variety of free supportive and educational programs to help patient and families cope with cancer and its effects. For more information, go to www.cancercenter.org.
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