The first things I learned about taking care of myself were extremely basic. The beautiful lady I call my spiritual mother explained to me that to start with, my responsibilities to myself were things like going to the doctor for annual check ups, going to the dentist twice a year, eating nutritious food, getting as much sleep as I needed, keeping myself reasonably clean and pleasantly dressed. I really don't remember ever having focused my attention on those things before and I was in my early 40s.
I vaguely knew that those things were supposed to be done, but I had no idea that putting them first was my responsibility. It took a long time before I was consistent at carrying them out. I usually waited a long time before going to the doctor when I was sick, for example. It seemed to me that other things were more important.
It wasn't until I consistently went to the doctor when I was sick, that he figured out I had such severe allergies that early every winter I got upper respiratory infections which started with fall allergies. Now it's been years since I have had the upper respiratory problems that used to start in late November and last until February.
I just ate whatever was handy and slept as little as I possibly could. I was very thin and chronically sleep deprived. If I sat down, I usually fell asleep. I lost a few teeth before I learned to get myself to the dentist on a regular basis.
I still track my nutrition, exercise and rest to keep myself conscious of what I'm doing and whether I'm being responsible for myself. I'm still a little slow about getting to the doctor, but I get myself to the dentist three times a year instead of two to prevent problems.
I still have a ways to go with nutrition and exercise before I can say I'm truly taking care of my physical self. But I am a very long way from where I was.
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