Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Walking the Talk

Photo by Alex Bruda
I am a natural health practitioner. When I see new people, my advice includes instructions to eat natural, well-made food, to rest when they are tired or hurt, and to put self-care high on their list of priorities. I am surprised by the number of patients who won't take time off when they lose an entire night's sleep, or have an injury, or just need a break from relentless stress. When they say they have money issues or other reasons that keep them from missing work or other commitments, I wisely say "If you don't take time for your health, it will make you take time for it later."

I followed my advice and took a vacation/religious retreat for two weeks. On my second day off, we were in a minor car accident. I have an old back injury, and the tiny bump we had aggravated it. Really, really aggravated it. I spent the rest of our break having difficulty sitting, more difficulty bending over, and lifting was not really an option.

Throughout the vacation, I thought about my first day back at work. I had a busy day scheduled, immediately after two long days of driving home. I wanted to take that day off. But as anyone in business for herself knows, time off means you don't get paid. No money had been coming into the coffers for two weeks, and a busy day cancelled meant a big negative on the income. I also had people who
needed me. People who were counting on me to be there, and who had made their appointments weeks in advance. What to do?

I put off making the decision until three days before I should be in the office. My back was only moderately better, and I could not see myself giving people quality work. And I was simply tired. I thought about what I would say to a patient who insisted on showing up for their job when they needed of rest and nurturing. Finally, I made the decision, and cancelled my day. No one yelled at me for cancelling his or her appointment, and I'm not bankrupt.

I'm at work today, and my back is still not completely well, but I feel more confident in my advice to patients. When you develop the integrity to take your own advice, it becomes easier to give good advice. I truly value self-care, and hope that comes through in the example of my own life.

What do you do to take good care of yourself?