Cautionary tale

Learning the importance of self-care the hard way

It’s been a few years since I first heard someone talk about “self-care.” At the time, I likened it to some kind of New-Agey claptrap. I almost certainly scoffed at it.

These days, I know better.

I mean, sure, it’s a trendy term for looking after one’s health and well-being, but the subject matter is real and really important. I know this for a couple of reasons. For starters, I’ve been extremely negligent when it comes to taking proper care of myself.

To wit, I’ve long put off getting a root canal and various other health-related appointments. I’ve also not adequately dealt with a drawn-out case of insomnia triggered by the Camp Fire.

Taken altogether, it’s been the perfect storm of physical and psychological chaos leading to numerous unpleasant symptoms, many of which have been unresponsive to medication. The biggie: a prolonged flare related to Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disorder. In my case, it presents as chronic pain.

Putting my health last in a long line of priorities, thus delaying treatment, has resulted in me feeling pretty beat up, making it more challenging to accomplish the tasks before me.

I certainly didn’t set out to sabotage my health. I’m your classic workaholic, though, and rarely miss a day on the job. Part of my dutifulness stems from knowing I’ll be even more slammed if I take time off. The newspaper doesn’t care if I have a migraine, didn’t sleep last night, or if my intestines feel like lava is flowing through them. It’s going to be distributed on Thursday and the work simply has to get done.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always considered myself to be tough that I’ve responded by grimacing a bit and moving on. Head down and plow ahead has been my motto, but it hasn’t served me well in the long run. I’ve reached a point where I have to act. My body is fed up.

So, taking better care of myself is something I resolve to do in 2020.

Last year was difficult for all of us at the CN&R, and we know it was for many others in the community as well. That’s why we decided to focus on self-care basics for our annual Health Issue. I hope you enjoy—and learn something from—the stories therein.

As for yours truly, don’t feel sorry for me. My hope is that sharing these things with you serves as a sort of cautionary tale.

In other news, it should be noted that we’re less than two months away from the March primary election. In case you hadn’t heard, all voting will be done by mail-in ballot.

Those registered as “no party preference” (NPP)—aka “decline to state”—should have received a postcard asking whether they’d like to request a ballot for the Democratic, Libertarian or American Independent presidential primaries. Those are the parties that allow NPP voters to select their ballot. Best to get that mailed back to the county as soon as possible.

I have mixed feelings about voting by mail. I loved heading to the local precinct to cast my ballot. There’s something exhilarating about being among other folks deciding the future of our community, state and nation. I’m going to miss that.