One of the hardest things to do I found when I was working full time and raising four children was to make time to take care of myself.  There always seemed to be something that needed to be done – another load of laundry, baking cookies for a school party, picking up something needed for a school project, taking one, or more, kids to a practice, fixing a broken toy, helping my husband on the farm, the list goes on and on. And somehow the one thing that never seemed to make it on my list was  – ME!

Not only was it difficult to find time to do something for myself – there were times when that if I did find time to do something for myself I felt guilty. Shouldn’t I be doing something for one of the kids, the school, my husband, the house, the pets?  It seemed that, in my mind, everything took priority over me.

And yet it’s important that we women, especially those of us who are mothers, make sure not to neglect our own self-care.  How can we help others if we run ourselves into the ground?

And this was really brought home to me this weekend as I was reading an article on a recent conference in Ottawa on women’s health issues.  It seems that I’m not the only one to put the well-being of others ahead of my own.  A common theme in the various presentations was that women tended to worry a great deal about the health of others but often chose to ignore warning signs of problems with their own health. And the situation is made worse by the fact that the medical community itself has for far too long given little thought as to how women’s health issues differ from men’s.  I knew that the heart attack warning signs were different for women than men, but was unaware that up until the 1990’s studies of new drugs were not even required to look at the response of women to them!

And the biggest surprise – the Number 1 killer of women worldwide is heart disease – not breast cancer as some of you may have thought! One in three women will die of heart disease or a stroke and 9 in 10 women have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, yet it is often misdiagnosed.  It turns out that dangerously little is really known about women’s health issues!

So if we women want to live long and healthy lives it’s apparent that we’ll have to make sure we do everything we can to take care of ourselves – since the medical industry doesn’t look to be of much help. And that means putting ourselves, and our self-care, on our own ‘to-do’ lists.  It’s up to us to eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight, take time to relax and destress and get out there and enjoy life, for a very long time. And that includes making time to do things that bring you joy and are fun – after all, ‘all work and no play make Jane a very dull girl’!

So, until the next time, THRIVE on 🙂

 

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Karen Switzer-Howse

Canada’s Premier ThriveSynergy Strategist

©2016 K.D. Switzer-Howse

 

P.S.  Learn more about symptoms women have that are different from men’s here: https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/symptoms_of_heart_disease_in_women/hard-to-recognize-heart-attack-symptoms/

and here: https://myheartsisters.org/about-women-and-heart-disease/heart-attack-sign/