Focus on Self-Care
to Enhance your Health
Recently I have been contemplating why self-care is such a difficult task to embrace and am curious to hear what you think about this subject via my age-well-be-well.com blog. As I work with clients I'm discovering that often a combination of several factors hamper self-care. These factors include expectations established by the current healthcare system, life balance issues and personal beliefs.
Our healthcare system today is dominated by the diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease. This focus has resulted in our healthcare revolving largely around our primary care providers (medical doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant). The resulting expectation is that this provider will tell us what is wrong and prescribe a treatment or medication to cure or treat what ails us. While this medical care is essential it often overshadows the responsibility each of us has to our own self-care.
In addition, self-care requires that we increase awareness about our own health needs and take steps daily to meet them. At a basic level this requires making good choices about how we use and what we put into our body and mind. Self-care requires knowledge of what to do but also a willingness to invest in self. This "self-investment" is especially difficult when our work and family commitments demand so much of our time and energy. There often doesn't seem to be any time left over to care for self.
Taking the time to care for self not only requires an investment in our time and energy but also slowing down long enough to become aware of the needs of our body, mind and spirit. So often in the past when I found myself ill, I realized in retrospect that my body had given me messages or cues about it's needs but I just didn't listen. Sometimes I was aware of those hints and choose to ignore them. Sometimes I was going so fast that I didn't even hear them. How often has this happened to you?
Beliefs also influence our ability to commit to self-care. Perhaps early life experiences suggested serving others was valued or focusing on self was selfish. Such experiences often create underlying and unconscious beliefs that inhibit our ability to make a commitment to self-care.
Do you have any self-care goals that roll over repeatedly into your New Year's resolution? Goals like exercising more or eating better that you seriously want to do, know how to do but never actually get around to doing. If so, you are not alone but finding the capacity to actually accomplish these goals will likely require more than just more discipline. Instead consider looking deeper into what beliefs might be feeding your inaction. Explore a vision for your life based on deep values that will motivate how you want to be.
I hope you enjoy this issue of The Age Well. Make sure you check out the sidebar for the programs being offered this fall. These programs provide opportunities to explore self-care on this deeper level. The health coaching offered during these small groups are also available in individual coaching sessions. Whether you attend a group program or decide to explore individual health coaching, know that you are a taking an important first step toward self-care. Hope to see you on the journey!
Please take a moment to forward this issue along to family and friends so we can expand our Age Well Be Well community.
|Toss A Coin In The Well . . .|
This column gives readers an opportunity to respond to an interesting question in each issue.
Toss your ideas and insights or "coins" into the well by contributing to my blog on the Age Well Be Well website. In this way, our whole community can learn from your experiences!
This Issue's Question Is:
Why do you think it is so difficult to commit to self-care?
See Paula's Blog for her answer to this question and to share your own experiences.
In Finding the Deep River Within (2006), Abby Seixas explores how to restore balance and meaning in every day life. Seixas offers straightforward strategies that enable one to "drop down" from the demands and busy surface of life allowing for movement toward a more inward focus deep within. While this book targets women, its suggestions are practical for men and woman alike. What I love about this book are the simple but powerful strategies. I find that the tools offered by Seixas not only cultivate mindfulness and reduce stress but equally important, they help us connect with our values and vision. Knowing how we really want to live our lives is an important element in supporting self-care. In our busy lives, very few of us take the time to focus on what it is we really want. Yet without this vision it is difficult to make investments in our own self-care. This easy to read book facilitates self-insight and supports a movement toward greater attention to self-awareness and self-care.
"A No Brainer""
Do you know the fastest and least expensive way to reduce your risk for heart disease? It doesn't have anything to do with diet or exercise or even smoking. It just requires regularly flossing your teeth. That's right, good dental hygiene! It turns out that dental health is strongly correlated with heart health. Doctors don't know exactly why but recent research demonstrates that poor dental health predicts heart disease as well as cholesterol levels. While we don't yet know the direct cause and effect relationship, it appears to be related to inflammation. Heart disease and many other degenerative diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and cancer are related to inflammation. If you don't care for your teeth by brushing, flossing and having regular cleanings at your dentist, you likely are experiencing chronic low level inflammation in your mouth that has been called a "silent killer" because it often doesn't cause any obvious symptoms.
So one of the easiest self-care behaviors is to regularly brush, floss and see your dental hygienist for a cleaning. This not only protects your teeth but there is also strong evidence that this simple lifestyle habit will protect your heart.
|In This Issue|
|Focus on Self-Care |
Toss A Coin
In The Well
"A No Brainer"
and Building Relationships"
Age Well Be Well will be presenting a program in Newton for an exciting organization -- Discovering What's Next. This organization was launched in 2002 to help midlife and older adults negotiate the transition and journey through retirement. The program will explore the importance of social connection to our physical and emotional wellbeing. Losses at mid-life often lead to a deficit in our support system and necessitate exploring new avenues to make meaningful connections and restore the balance essential for wellness. Learn about why social connection is so vital, why changes are so common at mid-life and most importantly how to build new relationships and revitalize long standing connections to support your growth and wellbeing at this stage of life.
Please pre-register for this program by calling Discovering What's Next (617-467-5438) or register with them on-line at
There is a $5 registration fee payable to Discovering What's Next for this program.
September 21 (Wednesday)10:30 A.M. -- Noon
Newton Cultural Center
225 Nevada Street
"Age Well Be Well Longevity Enhancement Program"
This 4-week interactive program will give a small group of participants the opportunity to learn about and actually practice a variety of holistic strategies including meal planning, supplement evaluation, exercises for physical and brain health as well as numerous stress management techniques. By the end of the series, participants will have created a personalized plan they can use to enhance their longevity and wellbeing. This presentation benefits all ages but is particularly important for folks at mid-life (age 50-75) when investments in health and wellness provide significant improvements in longevity and vitality. This fall build your own plan to add years to your life and life to your years.
Please register in advance by stopping by the Burbank YMCA or go online and register using class code 01200-88. Link for Burbank YMCA is below and once on the Home Page, click "Fast Finds" and select registration option.
A $100 registration fee for
($175 for non-members)
covers all four sessions.
9:30 A.M. -- 10:30 A.M.
October 4th, 11th, 18th, & 25th
36 Arthur B. Lord Drive
"Partnering for Health:
A Program for Pairs"
This 4-week interactive program invites you and a significant other to learn together about and actually practice a variety of holistic strategies including meal planning, supplement evaluation, exercises for physical and brain health as well as numerous stress management techniques. Attending this program with a life partner, sibling or close friend will allow you to shore up your support for the lifestyle changes this program will focus on. By the end of the series, participants will have created a personalized plan they can use to enhance their longevity and wellbeing and also have someone who will hold them accountable and provide support. This presentation benefits all ages but is particularly important for folks at mid-life (age 50-75) when investments in health and wellness provide significant improvements in longevity and vitality. This fall build your own plan to add years to your life and life to your years.
Please register in advance online or by calling 617-835-7087.
A $100 registration fee covers all four sessions, payable by check or cash at first session.
7 P.M. -- 8:30 P.M.
November 14th, 21st, 28th & December 5th
Church of Reading
(the gray house just right
of the church parking lot)
239 Woburn Street