Remember when Hillary Clinton told us it takes a village to raise a child? Well, I think we can take that a step further. I believe it takes a village to get through the tough times. It even may take a village to get through the good times.
Recently, an article was written about cancer patients who become each others’ support and what happens when one or more of them dies (This is the article). I was one of the people interviewed for the article because I lost a dear friend who saw me through my cancer treatment and provided me with the much needed support that only someone who has walked in those shoes could provide. I could talk to her about all the weird stuff going on in my body that someone who had never been there couldn’t understand. I could be bald with her and not be self-conscious. Usually, I covered my bald head with a wrap or one of the two wigs I hated wearing. But with MaryAnne, I didn’t have to be worried about other people’s comfort. She got it like no one else I knew at the time. Sadly, we lost this wonderful warrior in May 2017.
She was the picture of never-ending strength and grace under extreme pressure. I never thought she would die. I still miss her support, her sharp wit and her realistic view that “not everything can be cured with broccoli juice” as people tried to suggest alternative approaches to her healthcare. I never did that because I know she had way more knowledge than I did and researched the hell out of everything having to do with her disease. She looked for anything that would keep it at bay until she fulfilled her mission to bring adequate funding and recognition to the cause of treating and ultimately curing metastatic breast cancer, which is the only breast cancer that kills its victims. Unfortunately, she was one of those victims.
But you don’t have to be diagnosed with a life threatening disease to ask for support. We all deserve to be able to take care of ourselves and to ask for help in doing so. As I have said before, self care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. If you don’t take care of you, you cannot take care of anyone else effectively. Once your cup is empty, you can no longer fill anyone else’s. Hopefully, you won’t wait until something dreadful happens to your health before you do take care of you.
Who can you depend on for support so you can take care of yourself? Don’t be shy about asking for help when you need it. If you are the primary caregiver in your family, ask your partner, if you have one, to take over so you can go for a walk or go to the gym, or even just get away for a bit. If you don’t have a partner, make a deal with neighbors to trade babysitting so you each can get a break.
If you have young kids who still like to be around you, bring them into your self care routines. Play with them, dance with them, run around with them, let them help you cook healthy recipes. They can be your support system and little kids love to be part of the process. They love to help and are great cheerleaders. And when you bring them into the kitchen, they are more likely to want to eat something they had a hand in preparing.
Don’t be afraid to look outside your home for support. There are many social media groups that provide support for like-minded people, if leaving the house is tough. Join a neighborhood book club or moms’ group. It’s important to find people who get what you’re dealing with…your tribe. We are not meant to do life on our own. People are pack animals and we thrive when we are with people we can love and trust. On our own, we don’t fare as well. You don’t need a huge entourage around you, just a few people you trust and can rely on. Who can you rely on?
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.