Listening to a group of business executives at the table next to me during lunch one day, I heard one of them say, “I need to start taking better care of myself.” Casually, I glanced over at their table and saw four relatively fit men in their 30s eating lunch.
“What do you mean?” one of them asked.
“My wife mentioned that I was gaining weight. That’s never happened before.” The speaker was still fit, but on closer inspection he did have a little bit of a belly.
And I got to thinking that when we’re young we tend to take our health and our abilities for granted. I remember being told way back in high school that any woman who wanted to have children in the future needed to take care of her body when she was young. I tucked that bit of information in the back of my mind and there it stayed, until I overheard the conversation going on at the table next to me.
There are certain truths about how we treat ourselves and what we can eventually expect of our bodies. If we burn the candle at both ends when we’re young, we might be able to do it for a time because we have youth in our favor, but over time, our immune system begins to suffer, we show signs of increasing stress, and disease soon follows.
It would appear, then, that it is never too soon to take care of ourselves. When we treat our bodies well, our bodies will return the favor by providing good health, stamina, and the ability to enjoy life. Why, then, would we abuse our bodies by feeding it junk, not sleeping, imbibing in too much alcohol, and even over-the-counter medications?
Our youth and vitality shows through from the inside out. And the more you take care of yourself, the more you will be able to make a difference in the world.
I did eventually have children, and the words of warning came back to me from that high school teacher. I wondered if I had taken good enough care of my body back then to give this child what it needed while growing inside of me.
During the safety presentation on an airplane we are told to put on our own oxygen mask first before putting on one our child. This seems to go against our natural instinct to care for our child first. But if we don’t put on that mask and suffer oxygen deprivation, not only do we hurt ourselves, we hurt our child.
So too is it in life. In order to help others, we must first help ourselves by practicing good “self-care” techniques. This means eating right, getting adequate sleep, exercise, and taking steps to reduce our stress.
What changes can you make in your life to begin to finally take care of yourself? It’s never too late, and it’s never too soon to start. Make a list and you’ll be surprised…Just one change at a time will reap great benefits.