The 5 Benefits of Taking Care of You
5. You’ll be happier.
4. You’ll feel less-stressed & have more energy.
3. You’ll feel better in your own skin.
2. Your depression / anxiety will usually decrease.
1. Because you can’t go on taking care of everyone else and ignoring YOU.
When I was about 8, my Dad got sick. He died when I was 10. Cancer. Melanoma. (Check your moles and wear sunscreen.) I remember the chemo and the radiation and the hair loss and all of it. It was ugly. (I wrote about it a few years back, here.)
When my Mom was 19, well before I was born, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and battled it her whole life. Chronically. For as long as I can remember she’d be hospitalized about twice a year (sometimes more); she’d go and go and go… then it would just overtake her. So, into the hospital she went. I knew all of her gastroenterologists and felt comfortable in hospital settings. I remember massaging her cramping legs that would be bent rigidly at crazy angles when I was about 8; I knew all about potassium deficiencies and colostomy bags. Yep. I was a 50-year-old child; but it was who I was and I was comfortable with it.
And that’s who I am. I am a caretaker.
The role was perhaps unfairly thrust upon me, but it’s shaped who I am and I’d have it no other way.
My Mom died when I was 33 – about a month and a half before my 34th birthday. It was a surprise death. (That makes it sound like it was a “surprise party.” Which sort of makes me chuckle, because I have her sense of humor… It was definitely not a party.)
Today I’m 36-years-old and I have two children. One is almost 7 and the other is 5. For a long period of time, my life 100% revolved around them. Sure I work full-time, but from attempting to get pregnant for the first time, to then getting pregnant… it was all.about.them. Online shopping and browsing for baby stuff, then baby clothes, then toddler clothes, then little girl clothes.
I had a notebook, with my first child, Lila, that literally housed a hand-written comparison of car seats that I then cross-referenced with consumer reports. I’m not really an OCD, Type A personality — but for them, I’d do anything.
I’d research vitamins, blankets, medications, potty-training methods, homeopathic options, infant massage, napping schedules, baby-led weaning and milestones. Then they grew up and the fervor continued… until it stopped.
I specifically remember the period of time when I grew weary of them.
(I’m smiling as I type this.)
I think Lila was about 4 and Vivienne was about 2 and I was just done. I was finished with potty-training and no longer cared about having a headband or hair clippie to match every outfit. I realized that my clothes were outdated and I was still wearing nursing bras “just because they were comfortable.”
I had new parent fatigue. Where had I gone during this time? Was I losing me? WHERE ARE YOU, KYLEE?
And then to further confuse everything, my Mom died. And everything changed.
I was a mess. (Naturally.) The world felt like it was out of control. And, my comfortable, cozy armchair of a life was turned upside down. I was angry. I was sad. I was depressed. I was off.
In fact, I hardly have a memory of this time.
All of this energy that I had expended on caring for my Mom my whole life had no outlet. There was a treacherous gap in my heart and in my life. My “babies” were growing and their constantly needing of me had been downgraded and I had no “busy” work outside of them. (And I’ve realized that I’m a person who feeds off of busy. Not “drama” – just busy.)
So, I threw myself into writing; into trying to move forward. I rode the waves of grief – sometimes sailing and surfing atop them; sometimes viciously being tossed around and held under water by the heaviness.
During this time… this down time, this time of emptiness, it occurred to me that in her death, my Mom was giving me a gift.
I felt strongly that I had to use this new found “free” time to take.care.of.me. My sister and I kept repeating throughout this time, “Something good will come from this. Something good will come from this.” It was like I could almost hear her say, “Ok. Thanks for all you did. You know I’m proud of you. But now, Kylee… take care of you.”
So, after she died I started taking care of me.
And there was beauty from ashes.
I would get up every morning and workout for 25 minutes. I’d lay my sports bra, my shoes, my socks and my shorts out the night before, the alarm would go off before sunrise, and I’d get dressed in the dark and workout in my living room, watching the sun rise.
I felt like if I could get stronger physically, then my heart and my emotions would catch up. And maybe one day I’d feel srong again.
Slowly, it happened.
I got stronger. Physically and emotionally.
My “why” changed.
I wasn’t working out to be skinny or to look good in a swimsuit. I wasn’t exercising because I had a vacation coming up. I wasn’t exercising because I felt guilt about the row of oreo cookies I ate or the copious amounts of nutella and JIF peanut butter.
I was exercising my body in the hopes that I would GAIN strength. Every morning, when I was sweating, I would say, “DO THIS FOR HER. DO THIS because she would have GIVEN ANYTHING to have a healthy body.”
I took care of me in honor of her.
Since then, my “why” has evolved. I still appreciate and take care of my body because I know my Mom would have loved to have had a healthy body. But, I also take care of myself because I want those two girls of mine to see what strong and healthy looks like. I’m only human, and I certainly don’t make all of the right decisions – but I’m trying. And that counts for something.)
Fast forward to today.
I work full-time in luxury real estate marketing and I’m a coach – which makes me laugh because I never saw that coming.
But it makes sense.
I’m a coach because I like to surround myself with a group of women who I can support, and who can support me.
It’s like an extension of this blog.
This space has been a therapeutic and lovely and kind and healing place for me. I’ve shared everything here – with you. And you have listened and commented and reached out and you have spurred me along; encouraging me with each comment and with each email.
I’m writing this because I’d love to extend that relationship.
Writing a blog, as you may or may not know, is extremely one-sided.
I write and tell all… but I don’t often know about you. Who you are. Where you are in life. What you are struggling with. I wish I could support you and cheerlead for you in the way you’ve done so for me. (Ask Craig. My goal in life is literally to have solid relationships with people. That’s pretty much it.)
My next motivation and accountability group starts Monday, April 4th. They’re encouraging and safe and it’s a positive addition to your day. Message me if you’d like more info. Or, leave a comment. I’m here. These groups, like this blog, keep me going as much as they help others. Let’s talk.
It’s a journey friends. And, we’ve already come so far together…
Message me, email me, comment, text me – find me on Facebook.
Back to your regularly scheduled Sunday…