Self-Care Is Not Selfish (Part 2)
Over the past ten years, I have had the opportunity to share the gift of intentional and integrated wellness with a variety of women.
This is part two of Betsy’s story. Read the beginning of Betsy’s journey in part one.
Over the past ten years, I have had the opportunity to share the gift of intentional and integrated wellness with a variety of women. Some are mothers with large families who face constant taxing challenges, others are addicted to food, and some are just trying to get a handle on their changing or aging female bodies. Most of the women who reach out to me do so in sheer desperation. They are looking for reassurance and need a more positive and realistic approach to regaining control of their wellness. All of these women long for an ear that will listen and a companion to encourage and console them in the way only a feminine heart can.
One common obstacle that is present in all cases when I begin working with a woman is misunderstanding. She has come to misunderstand, like I did, that her wellness is not just a laundry list of things to fix about herself. I often hear proclamations like: “If I could just lose [insert number] pounds, then everything will be better.” Or, “If I just stop eating [insert food], everything would be great.” Other times I’m emphatically told: “If you just tell me what to do to feel better, I’ll do it!”
Every woman has to learn, like I did, that self-care is a process. Wellness depends on the integration of mind, body, and soul.
All of our failed attempts to lose weight, eat better, exercise consistently, and pray regularly, have been dashed because we don’t see how all three are intertwined with one another. Unfortunately, integrated wellness in mind, body, and soul is something that is absent from all the fads in fitness and dieting. These trends ignore integration and only focus on one aspect. This is why all these methods, I believe, are short-lived fads.
It is through our feminine genius that we can each achieve integrated wellness in our own way. As Pope St. John Paul II reminded us in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, the Church “desires to give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the ‘mystery of woman’ and for every woman—for all that constitutes the eternal measure of her feminine dignity, for the ‘great works of God,’ which throughout human history have been accomplished in and through her” (No. 31). These things are possible and amazing when a woman’s wellness is integrated. Integrated wellness includes prayer, exercise, and proper nutrition. We must strive toward an intentional lifestyle with these elements. With history as our guide, we see that focusing on one element of self-care and ignoring the others causes the other elements to suffer.
Learn practical ways to achieve integrated wellness—including questions to help you reflect on your current health—in part three.