Self-Love, Self-Care

Posted on: August 11th, 2016 by
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Last week, I participated in a #patientchat Twitter chat centered on what having a “quality of life” means to each of the participants. And that got me thinking about what constitutes a good life.

For me, quality of life is defined by self-love and self-care.

Of course, carving out a quality life is an individual and personal journey. But I thought I’d share what I view as a quality of life for me. These are not discussed in any order of importance. And I would like you, dear readers, to feel free to share in the comments section what having a quality of life means to you.

Through the dusty travails of life, I’ve learned that self-love is intertwined with self-care, and these components translate to a quality life.

Attending to my own needs — as long as they don’t impinge on others’ needs — helps me. I often turn to writing and art, which are so cathartic for me, even during stressful times. Exercise enhances my life tremendously. Although I don’t always want to put on my swimsuit or sneakers, when I go for a swim or a walk, I’m calmed by waves of relaxation. When I walk — whether on a nature trail or in the neighborhood — I am mindful of the beauty that surrounds me. When I sketch and paint, I experience a meditative reverie known as flow. I want to say a lot about flow, but that will have to wait for a future post.

Nature Trail

Regular warm baths relieve me of physical and spiritual aches and pains. I occasionally get massages, also an excellent source of self-love and self-care.

Making PTSD manageable is a day-to-day accomplishment. I have some dark days and dark nights, but overall, most of my time is filled with contentment and positivity. This is due to many factors, namely great psychology professionals, medications, keeping busy doing things I enjoy, and nurturing myself in many, many ways.

Setting boundaries has also proved invaluable. Nowadays, in the world of overscheduling ourselves and our children, I must carefully limit how many play dates we have, how many structured activities my daughter should participate in, and how many social events I get involved with. A quality life includes spending precious one-on-one time with my daughter. Fun, love, and mutual respect are at the heart of our lives, and that translates to a great quality of life.

Ari and flowers

Ari Swimming

In the scheme of life, childhood occurs in a nanosecond. So I “slow down” time by savoring each moment I spend with my daughter. Time still goes by fast, and she’s growing up quickly, but at least I savor each nanosecond as if it were an hour. I treasure each parenting moment and all her accomplishments.

Setting boundaries has also proved invaluable when dealing with toxic people. Our lives have no space for these individuals who are intent on making us as miserable as they are. We have a no-bullying policy when it comes to choosing our friends. Thus, we have effectively weeded out the toxic few who are not true friends.

I could go on and on about all the wonderful ways to create a great quality of life for me, but I’d rather hear from you, readers. Now it’s your turn.

What enhances your quality of life? How do you define a quality life? I would love to know.


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8 Responses to Self-Love, Self-Care

  1. Stephanie Urban had this to say about that:

    I also dusted off my paintbrushes a few months before my lump discovery. Learning to cope with breast cancer is now including writing and painting. Still working, but from home for now. I’m on the final stretch, radiation next. Glad I found your blog. Thank you.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Stephanie, I didn’t know you were an artist and writer! How wonderful. Keep doing the things that make you happy; such activities are great de-stressors, as you know.

      Hang in there with radiation. Just take one day at a time. I’m glad you found my blog, too! Thank you for your comment.

  2. Margaret Fleming had this to say about that:

    Glad you mentioned toxic people – my self-care issue of the month! My life is made better by people who are happy with the way I am. I save time to write and listen to music when I set more boundaries, especially against “Over-Helpers” who insist on doing for me without noticing what I can do for myself. Thanks for this quality post.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Margaret, I totally hear you! I have had so many toxic people in my life, and they are no longer in my life.

      I’m glad you write and listen to music and are setting boundaries against those who want to help too much. Keep your boundaries. Thank you for your comment!

  3. Rebecca had this to say about that:

    Beth, what an excellent topic for discussion! I completely agree when you say that quality of life is defined by self-love and self-care.

    It’s interesting how each one of us has a unique sense of what quality of life really is. And what might be ideal for some, may not be for others. Once I realized that there’s no such thing as a perfect life, I automatically welcomed the opportunity to create a situation in which I feel satisfied and content with what I have. Not an easy task under my current health circumstances, but I try. I am grateful that there are things that add meaning to my life: my cat, my fiance, writing, our online community and the loving memories from my grandma. Also, accepting that some things are out of my control, and being able to release that burden from my life, has contributed to my quality of life. I feel that when I hold on to control too much it gets in the way of my being able to create meaning, if that makes any sense.

    Thank you for sharing your perspectives on this topic. xx

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Rebecca,

      You’re right about there being no such thing as a perfect life. I think if we could just carve out a quality life, then it would be good enough, I think.

      You have so many wonderful things/people in your life; it’s wonderful. It is especially hard to focus on quality of life with the cancer Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. But the key is to always strive for that quality of life.

      Thank you for your comment!

  4. Kathi had this to say about that:

    This is so often such struggle for me. It’s easy to let things like chores and a to-do list overwhelm me. Yes, a clean house can enhance my quality of life, but I am continually having to tell myself that I still need to pace myself, that I can do a little bit at a time. And that rest and fun and music and activities that nourish me are important, else I will not have the wherewithal to do the things I have to do that aren’t so fun. Great post, great topic. Thanks for the reminder. xo

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Kathi,

      Thank you for your comment. Housework is, of course, important, but it’s just as important to nourish yourself with the things you enjoy doing. It’s a struggle for me, as well. I am getting better at making time for the things I love doing, but it always will be challenging, I think.

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