Self-Care 101: I Don’t Have Time!!!
My biggest fear following my heart failure diagnosis was running out of time. Time is something that cannot get back, and I hadn’t lived my life to the fullest. My youngest child was just born. I was a newlywed. Furthermore, I was just reaching mid-life. There were still dreams unfulfilled and goals to attain. So, I didn’t even want to think about the fact that I could be facing the end of life.
And I know I’m not alone. EVERY person with heart failure fights this mental battle on a daily basis. We fear running out of time. It’s only natural. What is not natural is realizing just how much time we allow to be wasted by others. It is important that we practice self-care to manage stress and improve our mental health.
Compassionate and thorough
Others underestimate how much of your time THEY use. I’m an empath and a servant by nature. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means that I can be understanding and compassionate, and I don’t mind helping when I can. However - and this is a big HOWEVER – people don't understand how much time I invest when helping them. I personally don’t halfway do things – never have, never will. I go ALL IN with researching, analyzing, problem-solving, double-checking – the whole kit and caboodle.
Unfortunately, a lot of people, including family, tend to underappreciate what that entails. They complain before I give them a solution. If I find a solution, they shoot it down before trying to see if it works. That is a primary source of stress. I find myself asking, "WHY DID YOU WASTE MY TIME?!"
Practice self-care by saying "no" to them and "yes" to yourself. It is easy to get frustrated when your time is wasted. As an empath, I find it difficult to say no when someone needs help. Self-care, to me, almost seemed selfish. However, I’m learning that it is very necessary. I get STRESSED when I help and it's underappreciated. Stress is not good for anyone, but especially those of us with heart conditions.
It also affects your overall mental health. There are times when I can literally feel my body telling me, say no to them and yes to yourself. This is because I really need to dedicate more time for myself spiritually, emotionally, and mentally to help me recover physically.
You can't get back time
Self-care isn't the enemy; it's a necessity. Time spent cannot be recovered. Instead of investing all of my energy when someone needs help, I give my all until they quit. In the past, I would try to persuade someone to keep considering solutions when they are ready to throw in the towel, but not anymore. I just drop it. Don’t get me wrong - I REALLY want to help. But in my head or to a confidante, I'll say "Oh well, I don’t care.”
I don’t mean it literally all the time, but I do say it EVERY time. I HAVE to say it out loud because I can’t afford to care beyond that point. Caring and exerting more energy becomes detrimental to me. Furthermore, there’s a greater risk that I would waste more time. So, when I get to the point of saying “I don’t care”, that’s my way of deciding to save my time. I deserve to take care of myself to alleviate stress and improve my own mental health.
Do you use exercise to help manage your heart failure?