Why Self-Love Should Be a Priority
In the heart of the city, on our small plot of land in the backyard, my parents grew peaches. Nice, juicy, sweet peaches that had my sister and I anticipating every summer. My grandmother would fold them into pies, cobblers, and often press them for preserves. My parents would tend our small orchard, and kept a close watch for any disease or blight because one sign of trouble could spell disaster for the whole crop.
It’s hard to think of your body as having anything in common to a fruit, but it does. If you let a cold slide, ignore an aching muscle, forget to exercise, don’t get adequate sleep or let levels of stress get out of control, that one spot of weakness can take out your entire body. It can wreak havoc on your mental, physical and emotional health. Self-love must be a priority!
Ounces of Prevention
As a teacher, mother, sister, student, or strong woman of any profession, you have to know that women often place the wellbeing of ourselves far below that of the people we love or sacrifice our health to keep life's train moving full-steam ahead. We’ll want to complete that last evaluation or progress report, buy groceries, cook dinner, read a bedtime story and get the floor vacuumed before going to the emergency room with that small appendix ache that you are sure will turn out to be nothing. This has to stop.
Powerful In Other Ways
Being a strong woman in today’s society means nursing the cold before it becomes pneumonia and treating the aching muscle before it tears. If you have created a sisterhood of support, you can do this without feeling like the house will not fall down around you… it won’t. My dedicated sisterhood, OC3 (Original Cousins 3), meets weekly at my grandmothers for chow and chatter. During the spring and summer months we play tennis at our local park and hike at one of the many gorgeous sites in the city. These times, along with our evening gatherings, are a time to share, get/give advice and laugh (and cry when needed).
To create your sisterhood of support you must:
· Find and keep friendships – only supportive, non-judgmental friendships will do
· Remember to nourish the relationship with sisters, mothers, grandmothers, nieces, and friends with texts, regular phone calls, emails, and visits
· Join women’s groups at your church, temple, local library, or at a philanthropic organization
· Be a good friend in return and take care of your friends when they are down and need assistance
There are many other ways to build the sisterhood. You can do what works for you, but build your support system to be strong, wise, and mighty. In the meantime, here are a few ways for you to get started on the road to self-love.
Three How-Tos for the Must-Dos
1. I start my day with a scripture and a period of meditation. My neighbor jogs for 30 minutes, and I have a friend who goes to early mass.
The beginning of your day sets the tone for the rest of the time. Spend some time making your re-entrance into the world calm and reflective. Sickness, stress, and anger tend to avoid people who move about in serenity and peace.
2. Eat properly, it doesn’t matter how busy you are. If time is an issue or you can’t boil water, join one of the healthy and organic meal clubs. The food can be delivered to you, and they are not as expensive as you think. At the very least, pick up some yogurt, granola and fruit from the grocery store.
3. Move. Just move. Walk down the steps, skip (ok, well maybe not skip) to the post office, and dance with the vacuum cleaner. Make an effort to move and consequently keep your body strong and powerful. I put a treadmill in my office. Now I have no excuse either.
The peaches still grow on the trees in my parent’s small urban, backyard orchard. It has been forty years since they first began caring for them. The roots and trunk which were originally and continues to be tended with devotion and love yields plump, juicy fruit year after year. If you take care of your body, mind, and spirit like my parents did their peach trees, you will find you too will have strong roots, a healthy body and an amazingly joy-filled life.