16 Dec How Fibromyalgia Taught Me the Importance of Self-Care
By: Isabel Diaz
I have been a caregiver since I was a child, for many reasons that were out of my control at a young age. It was just the way life’s circumstances were handed to me. I had to take care of almost everyone and everything. I had to carry the weight of situations, and I was taught to never speak about anything, to anyone. It has been exhausting.
I always put myself last, it was all I knew. Not until the age of 50, when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, did I learn about self-care. It has been life-changing – one of the best ways to take care of my health, both physically and emotionally. However, I still to this day must remind myself to find time for me.
The first, and most important lesson I learned was setting boundaries. Without them, I have had difficulty differentiating between my own personal values and those of the other people. Sometimes I have to say “no” in order to protect myself. In relationships, it might mean I lose my sense of self, and at the worst, I become so entangled with the other person that I don’t know who I am anymore.
Above all, scheduling “me time” and setting boundaries (both emotional and personal) has helped me tremendously. It gives me time to breathe and gain a respite from my responsibilities. I have a calendar where I schedule my appointments, important events, etc. – I make it a priority to schedule things I enjoy, and I highlight them in pink.
Self-care to me can be something small like a bubble bath, or getting my nails done. Its the little things in life that matter most. Even changing my perspective can change my entire situation.
What has worked for me so far is walks in nature, photography, coloring, time with friends, cooking healthy meals, and music. I add to my list constantly, and eliminate what doesn’t work.
The more important aspects of self-care for me are eating healthy, exercising (which for me means stretching or short walks), having someone to talk to, sleep, mediation, journaling, gratitude, prayer, getting enough sleep and eliminating negative people from my life. I try to make a complete list of things that encompasses all my physical and emotional needs.
I am aware that eliminating negative people from my life has been very difficult, but it has been essential to my peace. It’s hard to avoid toxic people sometimes and I try not to get pulled into their crises, set boundaries. I don’t expect people to change, I don’t expect anything from anyone. Expectations lead to disappointment.
I try to surround myself with healthy relationships.
Do more of what makes me smile and feel at peace.