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> Back to Self-Care Excerpts List

Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight

The Little One Inside

For many people, it is easier to take care of others than it is to take care of themselves. If this is true for you, you may find this next concept helpful to you: ADD yourself to the list of people who deserve your care and tending. I am not saying that you should care less about other people. I am saying that you should also care about yourself.

Take care of yourself as well as you would take care of a little one in your care.

I would like you to imagine some time in your life when you were in charge of taking care of a child. You may have had full-time responsibility, or you may have been tending this little one for the day. Would you let the little one who was in your care ...

  • You would not let the little one stay up late at night even when you know exhaustion will follow tomorrow?
  • You would not let the little one sit on the couch all day staring at the TV or the computer without moving for hours at a time?
  • You would not let the little one remain isolated without playing with friends for long periods of time?
  • You would not let the little one eat "entertainment foods" all day without enough food for fuel and nutrition?
  • You would not let the little one avoid drinking water, in order to avoid trips to the bathroom?

Of course you would not let a little one in your care do all these harmful things.

You would make sure that the little one you were watching ate well and drank enough water, got enough rest, ran around and played enough so they wouldn't be fidgety, and enjoyed a stimulating environment (including play time with friends.)

What if you were just in charge of watching a little dog for the week? Yes, even the dog would get the food he needed, plenty of water and regular exercise in the yard or on a walk. The dog would be given things to play with so he wouldn't get bored and get into trouble. You would give the dog attention and affection.

These are basic needs of all creatures, big and small. Yet, very often, we do not even meet our own very basic needs. There are very good reasons why this happens. The reasons are different for everybody. I encourage you to explore within yourself the reasons that you sometimes don't take care of yourself. This can be a long process. Some people use therapy sessions, self-help books, and conversations with friends, etc. It can be hard work to understand yourself. It is worth the work. However, there is a way to encourage self-care, even before you have unraveled the deep psychological reasons it can be difficult. When I thought about the way people take care of little children and pets, I got an idea.

You may find it valuable to picture a little one inside of you. This little one has the same color hair as you have. His/her little face has big round eyes the same color as yours. This little one is probably even cute and chubby like a cherub (You know the kind. You just feel like hugging them and squeezing their fat little thighs. I digress. I like cherubs.) Well, now that you have pictured this little one inside of you, when you make choices on how to take care of yourself, how to talk to yourself, and what to think about yourself, consider the little one inside.

Take care of the little one inside of you. Give him/her all the things necessary to thrive and feel well:

  • Eat healthy foods because they make you feel better.
  • Enjoy entertainment foods occasionally, but primarily rely on your life to really meet your needs.
  • Give yourself the water your body needs, even if this adds extra trips to the bathroom (that is just another opportunity to get moving!)
  • Sleep as much as you need so you feel rested
  • Enjoy your friends. Whether you engage people face to face, on the phone, or in a chat room, find people with whom you feel accepted and connected.
  • And finally, get out and play! Move your body in some way that you enjoy. Feel your body's strength and flexibility. If you don't know any type of movement that is fun for you, take action to discover what activity you can enjoy.

Yes, these are the basic needs of all creatures great and small. These are YOUR basic needs. Sometimes life has taught us to ignore our own needs. It may be helpful to remember the little one inside of you. The little one (who you used to be) is still part of the grown up you. The little one inside of you deserves to have his/her basic needs met. The little one inside of you deserves good nutrition, fun activities, and to be appreciated body and soul (especially by you).

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By Kelly Bliss M.Ed., A.C.E. author of Don’t Weight, Eat Healthy & Get Moving NOW!
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