As a fellow Shemsu pointed out: this week on February 12th, the Kemetic Orthodox calendar indicates the festival of Making Health and Long Life.
Part of my goal for this secular year — and I suppose for the rest of the Kemetic year — is to be more proactive and intentional about caring for my physical and mental health. I’m not an unhealthy person in general, but I also usually don’t consider self-care until I’m at a crisis point; in fact, I generally ignore my body and what it is telling me. Lately I have been particularly bad about ignoring things I have been advised to do for the care of my own health.
I have already committed to several health-related goals, but this week I will pay special attention to them. Here, for the sake of accountability, are my goals:
- Drink water consistently throughout the day. Remain hydrated. I am notoriously bad about this goal, because as an educator I don’t really get to run to the bathroom whenever I have to go. I have to wait for the most opportune moment, and then I might be able to squeeze a break in. Because I work in a non-traditional classroom setting, my bathroom breaks are even more limited. That isn’t an excuse to sacrifice my needs for hydration, though; and after a week of consistent hydration, I’m finding I haven’t increased my need for restroom breaks at all.
- Follow a more nutritious diet plan; increase deficient vitamins and nutrients. I have chronically low potassium. Years ago I was advised to eat a banana a day. I started out fine, and then quickly got tired of bananas and stopped. Now I am armed with a list of foods — not only bananas! — that are rich in potassium, so I can balance out my natural deficiency.
- Dedicate regular time to cosmetic self-care. This one sounds silly, but it makes a difference. By intentionally setting aside time to care for my appearance, I make myself feel valuable. I take the time to set out my clothes for the following day at night. I make time in the evening for a skincare routine. I file my nails regularly instead of filing them down when they split or catch on something. This is troublesome, because I already feel like I’m struggling to manage my time. But it feels so much better, physically and psychologically, to know I am putting effort into what I look like.
- Talk about health and self-care. This is the biggest piece of the puzzle for me. I grew up with the notion that one’s health should be completely private. What happened inside one’s body stayed inside one’s body, until it became a nuisance — or most often, a crisis — and then it was shared, reluctantly and fearfully, with a medical professional. I first began to understand the importance of self-care when I enrolled in a graduate program to study mental health counseling… but my gut still tells me that I don’t need it, that self-care is being lazy and unwilling to work.
- Address health and self-care needs. This is pursuant to the previous goal. Once health and self-care are acknowledged, the next step is to take action. That is not to say that I feel I am particularly unhealthy, but there are regular maintenance visits that ought to be made to medical professionals that I just… don’t do, for the reasons cited above. Even though they might be little things, they still need doing.
I share this, because it will help keep me accountable, but also to encourage others who might be struggling with the same issues to take these steps too. Managing physical well-being can be tiring and scary and expensive, but we serve the gods through the bodies we possess. We might as well take care of them to the best of our ability.
The Twisted Rope has an excellent piece on self-care, in addition to a fairly sizable collection of posts on the subject. Check it out!