One of the many valuable lessons I've learned through my years in Al-Anon is the necessity of self-care. Too many of us believe that self-care is synonymous with selfishness or self-centeredness instead of considering that each of us is given only one life and our higher power wants us to celebrate that life.
To find recovery from my stinking thinking, it was critical that I accepted that I could not change another person, place or thing; but I could change my attitude, my own way of thinking, and complete a personal inventory to determine who I am, why I reacted in a certain way, what elements of my childhood or early adulthood affected the way I approached life with insecurity, fearfulness, regret, false bravado, the need to always be "right", and my tendency to try to fix people and become involved in toxic relationships. I learned the only way I could find peace and serenity was to look deep inside myself, make a decision to let go of past behaviors, actively seek change, reboot my negative focus into a positive focus with mindfulness, let go of past anger and resentments, forgive, love people as they are, and to never make decisions when I am hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
In conjunction with working on my attitude and outlook, I began to practice yoga and mediation. My journey continues with making an effort every day to do something that promotes my overall wellbeing. At least three evenings during the week I try to shut off my work computer at 5:00pm so that I can make a 5:30 yoga or Pilates reformer class. Once every four or five weeks I indulge in a pedicure. And about two years ago just after my mom died, in an effort heal, I began to incorporate a monthly massage. I've also rediscovered how much I benefit from an occasional facial. And I've convinced my husband that I'm a much lovelier human if I spend a few precious hours on the weekend with a book and a cup of tea or working in the garden alone rather than vacuuming the cat fur out of the Persian rugs.
Some days it is a struggle to do what is the best thing for my overall wellbeing. Some days work has to come first. Sometimes I allow other commitments to take precedence. It is so easy to make excuses that there isn't enough time. But those days of making excuses are fewer now. I've decided that at the age of 59 I am worth it. I will continue to practice self-care, embrace the peace and serenity I've been able to cultivate, and practice an attitude of gratitude.