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  • Writer's pictureTina

Lessons On Self-Care




Many of us have room for improvement when it comes to self-care. Personally, I don't always do what I need to when my body tells me it's time to take a break. My husband is even worse about taking care of himself. In his mind, taking a break, doing nothing, resting, relaxing, and unwinding equivocates wasted time and weakness. The Bibbed Wonder rarely takes a day off. He can be ill, in pain, or exhausted, and he will push himself to the absolute limit. I have learned the hard way that fussing at him to take care of himself does not work. In fact, it goes in the opposite direction, and then he gets annoyed and crabby. Instead, I make subtle suggestions, plant ideas, or point things out matter-of-factly, allowing him to come to his own conclusions and think it's his idea and he is in charge. It's all about creating that illusion...insert a smile and a wink.


So, let's talk about self-care and the importance of taking time to give yourself what you need. With the start of live shows, some of you may have seen me in person and noticed some changes in my appearance. First, my hair is a lot lighter. I have finally decided to allow my hair to go grey. I am trying to do so gracefully, so my magic friend/stylist Mandi has taken my hair to a light, non-golden blonde. I am not a natural blonde, so this is somewhat of a shock. However, it helps my white hair blend, and I don't have a line as noticeable at my roots. I can't say that I like it or that it is graceful, but I don't feel as self-conscious about it if I were to let it grow out and not try to blend it. Dumping chemicals on my head every two weeks is not good. I believe my hair is thicker and healthier without the chemical colorant. Hopefully, in a year or so, my hair will be a lovely natural white, and most of the artificial color will have grown out. I know it will be a long, arduous process, but I have finally committed to it.


Also, you may have noticed I am a bit thinner. In the past, I have been open about my weight loss struggles, hypertension, and early-onset heart disease. Well, dear reader, after joining gyms, cutting carbs, exercising, drinking a ton of water, and trying all the medications out there with minimal results, my cardiologist prescribed the semaglutide drug Wegovy. Wegovy is a weekly injection that slowly increases until one reaches the maximum dose. To date, I have lost 25 pounds. Last week, I had a check-up with my cardiologist, and I am thrilled to share that my blood pressure is down to 112/70, my heart function is much better, and I am no longer fatigued, exhausted, and winded when I exercise. It's amazing what dropping a few pounds will do for one's health. My blood pressure has not been this low since I was in my early thirties.


My goal is to lose another fifteen to twenty pounds, concentrating on losing weight around my middle section. At this late stage of life, it is not all about vanity (although I like how my clothes fit now) but about being healthy, getting off most of my medications, and living a healthy lifestyle. I know some of you may disagree with the use of this type of medication, but for me, it has been a game-changer. With a new and accurate diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis and switching to the injectable biologic Humira, I am feeling better than I have in over a decade. The people who are close to me have noticed an improvement in my health, the way I move, my mood, and my increased energy.


Finding the right combination that works for me has taken me years. Changing rheumatologists was the best choice I have made. As a patient, who am I to question someone who has gone to school for eight years with a concentration in their specialty? What I have learned is that it's okay to question. It's okay to take matters into my own hands when I feel that a doctor is not listening to me. It's okay to ask questions about treatment and say, "I am not comfortable with this. What else can you do?" It's perfectly acceptable to switch doctors when I feel I am not receiving the answers I am looking for. It's also okay to advocate for myself.


Do I enjoy driving to Pittsburgh every three months to see my new doctor? No. Did I feel uncomfortable going to a new doctor? Yes. Did I feel like a bit of a hypochondriac going with a list of ailments, medications, and treatments that didn't work and asking for help? Yes. However, taking the time, putting in the research, asking for help, and being willing to leave my comfort zone because what was being done for me wasn't working has paid off. I feel more like my old self again. I am not napping every day at 2:00. I have the energy to do more in all aspects of my life. I feel good and don't dread daily life. It's been worthwhile and I am better for it.


So, dear reader, those are the significant changes. Now that I am feeling better, I have decided to do small things that help me, make me happy, and improve my quality of life. I finally got a library card. I know it sounds weird and might not seem like a big deal to you, but going to the library makes me happier than you can imagine. My friend Jenna, who is great at helping me do things outside my comfort zone, asked me if I wanted to get a library card with her. Of course, The Bean and I said yes. We signed up for our library cards and then explored the library. I felt at home and excited to be surrounded by so many books. I felt at peace in the cool, comfortable, and quiet of the stacks. The hard part was deciding what books to read because the possibilities seemed endless. I settled on three books. I am revisiting Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilt series, a new horror author and a work of fiction with a touch of magic. I have finished one of my books already. I wanted to go to the library every week, but The Bean informed me she thinks every other week would work well. I think she is right.


I have also decided to do small things for myself, like getting a massage every few months, having a pedicure every six weeks, and maybe getting a facial. To keep my mind sharp, I have joined the Master Class series. I am going to watch the Martha Steward lecture to begin, and then I believe I will take a few marketing courses. I've also decided to look for a digital marketing course at our local college. I'm unsure if anything is offered, but I feel it is worthwhile and productive to explore this avenue. I have also declared Sunday to be a non-work day. I try to work full-time at the business throughout the week and do household chores on the weekends, mostly on Sundays. My goal is to balance my time during the week between the house and the business and take Sunday to do something I enjoy or nothing at all. I need to strike a balance and set a good example for my daughter.


My point is that after fifty-plus years, I finally think I understand the importance of caring for myself. I continue to feel nagging feelings of selfishness, laziness, and self-doubt about doing things I enjoy and taking the time to do them, but I am working on that. I know I can't just eat whatever I want and expect healthy results. I grasp that I can't just sleep and hope to feel better. I understand that sometimes I need help, and I need to be okay asking for help. I am trying to be okay with not keeping pace with my workaholic husband. I also know I can't force him to take care of himself. That is something he has to come to understand in his own time. I can try to set a good example for my daughter. I can try to balance work, fun, and self-care. It's a learning process.


Give yourself some grace, dear reader. Take the time to do what is best for you, even if it isn't the easiest way. Advocate for yourself and your health. Don't be afraid to ask questions and make changes. Try to accept that doing nothing is good for you and needed. Taking the time to do things that make you happy is not a waste of time. Make friends who get you out of your comfort zone...they're the best. But most of all, be kind to yourself. On this overcast summer day, stay safe, be smart, take care of yourself, and keep washing your hands.



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I love Jennifer Chiaverini’s books! Have you ever been to one of her book talks/shares when she publishes a new book? I went to one in PA when I won the contest to name the book - Circle of Quilters!

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Tina
Tina
6 days ago
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That is so cool! I've never met anyone who got to name a book.

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Great advice!

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Tina, I noticed the changes! You look wonderful! I am happy for you that your health is improving so dramatically, knowing how much harder it is as we get older. It seems to me that you have always been a very busy person, I can’t imagine what you will accomplish as your health improves even more. You are an Inspiration!

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Happy you are feeling better and have more energy! You look 👍 great!

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