Self Care – Setting Physical and Mental Health Goals

“I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me.” — Jim Rohn

It was the June holidays, and I thought I had all the time to do whatever I wanted. I could take El to a museum, Gar to a playground, or just let the two boys play together. Instead, I ended sick, with fever. After a few days, the fever finally subsided, but I had a cough that did not go away.

I went to my former GP, and took the medication. In the afternoon, I had a severe headache that would not go away. At night, I could not sleep at all and I felt my heart racing. The next day, I felt my head was going to burst. I ran my head under the cold water. I only felt better for a short moment.

My mother drove me to a 24-hour clinic just opposite my apartment. It was that bad that I could not even cross the road on my own. After checking the medicine and a dusty manual, the doctor said that I was probably having a bad reaction to codeine. That was one of the main ingredients in the cough mixture.

I took the new medication, but I still did not feel well enough. I went to another doctor, who gave me new medication, and after finishing the cough mixture, I was still coughing. He decided to change the medication, and this time round, I had the severe headache again. Up till today, I am not entirely sure why I had problems with certain cough mixtures.

For the next eight weeks when I had gone back to work, I was coughing all the time. I felt my sinus cavities filling up with mucus whenever I taught in the classroom. I had coughing fits, and there were lots of phlegm.

I avoided chicken (based on Chinese traditional medicine recommendations) and eggs. I avoided cooling fruits such as water melon and oranges. I ended up eating salmon with rice from the Japanese stall for the longest time. I have not eaten that dish ever since recovering.

I could not exercise, and felt breathless. I had taken my health for granted. I took herbal drinks and mixtures. I finally tried Chinese medicine, with one dosage costing $25, and after spending more than $150 for a few days worth of bitter powder, I finally recovered.

Unfortunately that led to a bad acne outbreak, something which I did not have since my awkward teen years. My flawless skin was no more, and I had lots of big angry red bumps. This was probably due to the heaty Chinese medicine, and the lack of Vitamin C.

My stamina was gone (I could only last 5 minutes in the swimming pool) and I was lethargic. I decided enough was enough, and I really needed to take good care of myself. My time with my children was limited to avoid passing the germs to them. It was a hectic term in school and I did not have enough energy for my students.

Just like what Jim Rohn said, we really need to have self care so that we would not be a burden to others. I am no superwoman. It is time to take care of myself. My children need me and my students need me. I need to be in tip top condition before I can really be there for others. I have signed up for a 100-day challenge, to finish 2014 strong, instead of waiting till 2015 to set new resolutions. I have decided on two types of health goals.

Physical Health Goals
1. Swim weekly. (The pool is just downstairs. What excuse can I use? Well, I could get myself a flattering new swimming costume because the tankini top is rolling up. I just can’t shed the post-pregnancy flab. Wait, those that I see in the nearby stores are just not nice enough.)

2. Sign up for a weekly Zumba or yoga class at a nearby Community Club. (I had procrastinated on it and some of the classes are full already. Why do I keep taking the schedule but not sign up? What am I waiting for? I guess I should find time to go off early from work. Exercise mats? I have so many playmats for my children. I could use them for my yoga poses at home.)

3. Run on the threadmill at gym at my place weekly. (I should get a new pair of exercise shoes one size bigger.)

4. Eat fruits daily. (I do that only when I am at work.)

5. Eat just enough calories and not more. (I take less rice, and avoid having two big meals at work.)

6. Go for regular facials so that I can look great. (I have already paid a fortune for lots of sessions. I just have to make sure I do not cancel.)

For my mental health goals, I shall focus on my hobbies and relaxation.

Mental Health Goals
1. Read weekly. (I get an hour and a half to myself when I wait for El to finish his Mandarin speech and drama lessons every week. I have read Singapore Noir, a really great book on fictional crimes in Singapore written in a fatalistic and sensational manner by some of the famous local writers. I am still reading The Leader In Me, about how to inculcate 7 highly effective habits in children and students.)

2. Limit my TV time. (I love to watch television, but I am more selective of the shows I watch. I like to read the synopsis ahead, to see whether the show is worth my time. Sometimes I watch cartoons with my children. Gar, my two-year-old, has watched Dinosaur Train so many times with his brother that he could say the names of those dinosaurs and name their colours before they appear. )

3. Spend time to do reflection on my work and goals weekly. (We should take time to reflect and think of how to become better.)

4. Laugh daily. (I love all the jokes and funny videos of cute animals and children. My children make me laugh with their funny quips and jokes. A happy person keeps the doctor away.)

5. Think positive. (I have improved much over the years, where I am more positive instead of negative. It is still a work in progress though.)

6. Have me time. (I realised that I have a quota of spending time with children after reading Tabitha Ferreira’s article on Mommy Needs A Time Out. I have overexcitabilities. Too much stimulation makes me uncomfortable. I spend hours in school with students, and sometimes after spending a few hours with my children at home in the evening, I just cannot wait to have my own me time. I need time to unwind, if not I will feel really frazzled.)

Well, these are my physical and mental health goals for 2014. What are yours? Share your top health goals (both physical and mental) here and be accountable for them. Check back here by the end of 2014 and see whether you have reached your goals.

This post is part of Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hops on Self Care.
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