Authored by Sarah Polite – Former Guest and Success Story of Hilton Head Health
Time. We are always looking for more of it.
Time. When there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all of it done.
Time. If only we could get everything done for everyone else. Then we’ll be able to focus on ourselves.
Time. Something that we don’t always make room for ourselves in a way that puts ourselves before others. Time. Something we don’t get back.
Have you ever felt that you’ll eventually do the things you want to do and take care of yourself and make time for yourself someday when ____(fill in the blank)?
Someday when I get that raise, I’ll take that vacation.
Someday when the kids go to school, we’ll spend more time together.
Someday when I lose that weight, I’ll buy that bathing suit.
Someday when everything falls exactly into place exactly as it should be, I’ll do the things I want to do, deserve to do.
There came a time in my life when I realized that I needed to choose myself over the things that were holding me back from loving myself. It was an awakening that came after a very long relationship ended that had been a part of my life for most of my adult life. That relationship was a big part of how I saw myself. My role in how I cared for my partner, and that I cared for him before I cared for myself.
Do you have relationships like that in your life? Who are they with?
Once the relationship came to an end, space opened up in a new way that made me take a look at my life, my timeline, and how I spend my time. It’s valuable. I took a closer look at who I spend my time with and how I not only spend time with myself but how I see myself. So much space opened up without this person in my life I realized that I had been neglecting myself for a long, long time.
Why was it so much easier to focus my attention on others than me for all those years? I had to really sit with that one when I answered it so I’ll ask again so you can too. Why is it so much easier to focus our attention on others than ourselves?
I used to think my caregiving and loving others was a badge of honor. That it meant I was kind. That people would like me. I didn’t know that I could be kind to others and still be kind to myself. It didn’t have to be one or the other. There can be BOTH. Love for ourselves and then love for others. The more we’re taken care of the more we can take care of others when we are ready to. I always had it backward. I actually had known this for a very long time, but it was easier to not acknowledge it. To push it aside and care for those around me. It became comfortable too. That awareness and work it took to look back and reflect and pick it all part was challenging but needed. It is worth it because doing that shifts things, it makes room. Room and time to see what matters, who matters.
The main source of neglect was that I was last on my list to take care of. The needs of my work, partner, friends, and family all came before my own. I became a caregiver but wasn’t caring for the most important person of all.
So, I took a look at my life.
This shift in this relationship and routine cracked everything wide up open and forced me to. I reflected and re-evaluated. And then I made a choice. I looked at the time that had passed (a long time) and decided I didn’t want more to pass and someday be somewhere I regretted with time I couldn’t get back. So, as easy and as hard as it was, I started choosing myself. Not saying yes to everything, setting boundaries with the people in my life, reassessing how my job affected me, and making conscious efforts to change what I could.
To start this personal revolution, I grabbed a pen and paper and I made a list.
I recommended you do it too. I made a list of what was important to me. Who was important to me? What and who I wanted to focus more on. And after I completed my list, I noticed one thing. There was a common item on the list. Me.
It was time to start taking time for myself. Finally. A new idea that was scary but necessary and once I felt that realization to my core and believed it, I started making changes to support that decision, support myself. The relationship may have come to an end, but I was just getting started. It was time to leave the career that was burning me out and head somewhere that had a better quality of life than the fast-paced city I was calling home for a long time. As long as the relationship that went along with it. Those are a lot of big changes all at once and choosing ourselves doesn’t need to be full of huge changes all at once, the small changes end up being big changes too. But after deciding not to stress and settle and put myself last, I couldn’t stop and change after change lead me to my new home in South Carolina and where I found Hilton Head Health.
Three months. That was the time that I was going to be staying at Hilton Head Health. At first, when I signed up for the LoseWell program, I thought it seemed like a big commitment…and it was! But in the grand scheme of our lives, taking three months to focus on health and wellness isn’t much time at all. But it felt like SO MUCH TIME at the time. Time away from the life I was in. The people I was with. The roles I knew myself in. That I was comfortable in. I knew by going everything would change because it needed to change. I needed to change. It was an investment in myself like I have never invested before. But making the decision to do something for myself somewhere I had never been, alone and focusing on my goals and challenging myself was scary but so many of the necessary good things are. So, I jumped in. I signed up. I put the day to day life on hold because I knew this was a once in a lifetime chance to make changes to my life that would make the rest of my life better, I would be better for it. I reminded myself, once we start choosing ourselves it gets easier to give ourselves permission to keep choosing us, so I did. And I went. I and I recommend you do too.
Does it seem overwhelming? That much time focusing inward can be uncomfortable. Even if it’s not a long stay like mine, any time away can feel selfish by leaving the loved ones, the job, the relationships, especially the ones that may be adding to the reason you want to go in the first place. The more space we make for ourselves we’ll be able to have for loving others when we get back. We’ll be able to speak up for what we believe in and say no when something doesn’t work for us. It’s hard. It gets easier. We’ll stop apologizing. For taking up space, for saying what we need.
You may be reading this and think to yourself “I could never do that.”
But I encourage you to think you can. I know change can be daunting to think about starting. Here is my suggestion for you: make a list. See who’s on it.
Ask yourself these questions:
Who is important to you?
What is important to you?
Who and what do you want to focus more on?
Next step; adjust your life accordingly so you’re at the beginning of the list.
Former Guest and Success Story at Hilton Head Health
It’s time to start your own journey to health and happiness. Click here for more information about the wellness and weight loss programs at Hilton Head Health, recently named the #1 Wellness Resort the Country by USA Today