Listen to Jenny Baxter talk about self-care, and the critical importance of looking after yourself, using the audio player above.
Injuries and health checks
Who looks forward going to the doctor for your pap smear? Or a mammogram? Yay!
Beyond testing your physical system, all those invasive and intrusive examinations test your limit of tolerance to unpleasantness. Groan.
It’s hard to look after yourself isn’t it? But this is a really important life hack.
Have you ever noticed things like this?
- Too many women end up with terminal bowel cancer, too far gone for treatment. All because they were embarrassed to admit there was blood in the toilet.
- As well, too many miss the early stages of breast cancer or cervical cancer because they dislike letting someone do the uncomfortable test.
- And too many end up with long-term injuries, because they choose not to get treatment for a sprain or a fall.
Yep, that’d be me. I got myself a gym injury and didn’t do anything about it. I’m pretty good at regular health checks. But I was lousy at having treatment for that injury.
Did I look after myself? Not very well.
Me? A Train-Wreck?
I’m tall and athletic, and school sport was always a highlight of my week. As an adult, I’ve always prioritized fitness. Since leaving school I’ve enjoyed many sports and fitness activities. I even did daily exercise videos at home, while my little babies napped. Just listen to me talk to Jody Sargison, the Treasuring Mothers fitness expert! I know things.
Hear my prideful tone?
Mistake Number One
Gym membership became an option once my kids were all at school and I began part-time work. My routine became twice a week at the gym; once a week badminton; daily dog-walking before breakfast. Life was great!
Great, that is, until my knees started burning for hours after my gym visits. I put up with it for weeks. That was Mistake Number One.
I only saw the expense of physio treatment and didn’t consider the expense of a long-term injury. I really didn’t take my own self-care seriously. Maybe I don’t know so many things after all.
That’d be less of a prideful tone.
Mistake Numbers Two and Three
After a few weeks my knees began to feel better. So, slowly I re-introduced my exercises. But did I go and talk to my gym instructor? Nup! This was Mistake Number Two. If I’d got myself a new program, I’m sure things would be different now.
Unfortunately, the cool muscle-man trainer who gave me my program made me feel uncomfortable, and I put it off. Mmmm. Maybe I could have asked for another instructor you say? Yes. Maybe I could have.
So, all that pride is out the window now.
On the day I re-introduced one particular exercise, the burning knees returned. Clearly, I’d ended up with some type of repetitive strain injury. And now, Mistake Number Three. I still didn’t go for treatment!
In fact, after that, while I couldn’t lunge like I used to (frustrating for badminton), I just put up with it. And that’s when the long-term injury set in. I learnt to live with the new restrictions and manage the mild pain.
Sore knees became my new-normal.
No Treatment Gives You Results – Bad Results
Fast forward to now, and my knees are a whole lot worse. I finally went to the doctor for a health check and she told me I have arthritis in both joints, and knee replacements will be part of my future. Yes, too late, I now look after myself!
While regular Pilates classes are helping, my knees will never be back to normal.
My pride is in pieces now. Which might be good – because at least I can tell you the story.
Health Checks: Learning From My Mistakes
I will now manage this injury for the rest of my life. It has personal impact for me, and for my family and friends. And I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot about self-care! Almost every day I take a long walk, as I’m determined not to lose my mobility. I see too many elderly women who are glued to their chairs!
The good thing? My experience has taught me to take my self-care seriously. It means I’m prepared to put up with those embarrassing health checks. I won’t let my own fears get the better of me again.
I hope you learn from my mistakes and take it seriously too. And if you don’t do this life hack? I’ve learnt it’s totally not worth it.
Plan Ahead and Look After Yourself
- Make a decision TODAY that if you end up injured, you will get it seen to.
- Add another decision: You WILL go and have that health check at the Doctor you have been putting off. (Yes, I know you!)
- Tell some trusted friends about your decisions, and ask them to keep you accountable. Really. That goes for those unpleasant health checks too.
- It really does take a village to raise a child! You cannot do this on your own. Find a community of people who can support you if you are ever injured or sick. Churches are great for this.
A Leap Further: Self-Care Forever and Ever
One more thing I’ve learnt. Whatever happens, my body will not last forever. Really, my body is just a container for my life on earth.
As Paul the Apostle wrote:
A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers.
But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever.1 Corinthians 9:25 TPT (Italics mine)
There are parts of me that WILL go on.
Self-care includes caring for more than just my body. It also includes my soul and my spirit. If I don’t, there will be large eternal consequences, far more severe than arthritic knees.
My advice to you? Don’t look after your body at the expense of your soul and spirit.
Your pride isn’t a good reason to ignore your eternal health. It’s totally not worth it.
So really. Look after yourself. That’d be Body, Mind AND Spirit.