We are a society that is prone to moving through life at 100 miles per hour. Between jobs, kids and family, people today rarely take time to just stop and reflect on their priorities.
In my profession, I often ask my patients to list their top five priorities. Most of the time, the patient never puts themselves in the top five.
I'm a big believer in self-care or putting life on hold to take care of yourself. I know many women who run themselves ragged getting things done at work, running kids to sporting events, getting dinner on the table and taking care of their spouses. That leaves little “me time.”
I have to admit, I don't always practice what I preach, but that's about to change!
I'm due to have my first child any day now and will be going on maternity leave. This is my last blog until 2014. It is difficult to write that because I love sharing my thoughts and advice with you in this space, but that's what self-care is about. Even the things we love have to take a back seat to take care of ourselves. In my case, my husband and I will be taking care of our new baby.
As my delivery day and maternity leave approaches, I've decided to share with you how I've been preparing for this phase of my own self-care. I am hopeful my process will be helpful to you.
Sit down and ask yourself what your priorities are.
Start by asking yourself “what is important to me?” That list should be what you want it to be, not what you think it should be. This also isn't a list of your daily comings and goings. It's not a list involving your job or getting your kids to and from events. It's a list about you.
Look within yourself and make this list about YOUR priorities to better yourself.
Brier Jirka is a sex therapist with the Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center. She blogs every other Tuesday, but will be on maternity leave until January. Read more from Brier.
What can I do to bring change to my life?
Something I have done recently is spend more time on my mental self. Instead of getting home after an 11-hour day and going right into the nightly routine, I've started taking 15 minutes of "me time." This might include watching an episode of “Young and the Restless,” reading a chapter out of one of Chelsea Handler's books or maybe just lying down for a few minutes to reboot.
Your choices may be very different, but that's the key. Make it your choice to have that "me time" at the end of each day.
Get your ducks in a row.
One of the biggest concerns I have as I embark on my maternity leave is being away from my patients. In my practice, I have many clients who are still on their therapy journeys, so stopping treatment, even briefly, isn't an option.
So I've spent the last several weeks getting treatment plans in place to ensure they will continue to receive the best care. As I prepare my patients for my leave, I feel they are in a good place and they are able to verbalize to me that they are OK with their treatment plans. This will allow me to focus on myself and my family while I'm away, and in the end make me a better therapist.
If you have stressors in your life, tend to them, but don't let them take over. Have a plan in place to deal with those issues and be OK with letting go.
So what can I leave my readers with for the next couple months while I'm at home learning, once again, to take care of me?
All I can say is take care of you and as Lucille Ball from “I Love Lucy” would say, “Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
Thank you all for taking time to read my blog. I love writing about sex and relationships. Maternity leave will give me plenty of time to get caught up on all of the juicy, new sexuality research I have been dying to read. I will plenty to share with you upon my return.