The Importance of Self-Care with Speakers from Healthminder Day

BlogHer Original Post

Like we have in the past for our conferences, we're bringing you some speaker interviews for our upcoming BlogHer events in Chicago this July. First up, we're asking some select speakers from the Self-Care and Social Health tracks at Healthminder Day this important question:

We all *know* that Self Care is important in our lives, but sometimes we fail to prioritize it into our daily lives. Can you share a time where you did – or didn’t – prioritize Self Care and how that made an impact on your life and the lives of those around you?

Self-Care last year at BlogHer '12

Heather King is speaking on the Self-Care and Social Health: What Is Enough? panel. Her answer is real and honest:

Sometimes it takes being forced for me to take better care of myself. Sad, but true. Because I've learned the hard way so many times (heh), I've grown better at putting out the fire before it starts. Putting myself last during really stressful times in life has proven to be a disservice to my family and to myself. I used to drink too much to cope with feeling overwhelmed and totally wiped out. I didn't take time for myself or consider my needs in a healthy way at all. When I decided to quit drinking, I began to heal this part of myself, to enjoy time away and doing things that filled my tank instead of always emptying it and then asking it for more. I'll always be learning how to let go of guilt and an uneasiness in taking care of my needs first so I'm better able to be present for my family and friends, but I've finally accepted that it's best for all of us.

You can learn more about Heather via her blog and Twitter.

A'Driane Nieves, speaking on the Mental Health in the Online Space panel, shared how important sleep is to her self-care -- and what happened when she didn't get enough sleep.

Sleep is my go to weapon in my self-care arsenal. If there's one thing I've learned about living with bipolar disorder and being a mom it's that sleep deprivation is my number 1 trigger. Lack of sleep triggers hypomanic episodes where I often feel agitated, anxious, and my brain moves at 200mph-like being in a racecar without brakes . When I don't get enough sleep, my ability to take care of myself and others is inhibited significantly and always results in a crash that leads to a nasty depressive mood.

My worst sleep deprived episode came in In 2011 during my fall semester of college. I was carrying a full course load (12 credits) and single parenting 2 kids. I had 3 papers and two major tests to take during midterms week and the pressure I felt to perform was intense-so intense that it set my mind racing, which lead to my inability to sleep before 4am. I only slept a total of 6 hours that entire week of midterms. By the end of it I was wreck, and calling my psychiatrist crying because I couldn't get my mind to quiet down or focus long enough to complete the simplest of tasks.

Lesson? Learned.

You can check out A'Driane's blog.

Cathy Steinberg is teaching the Personal Safety & Self Defense for Women panel... and after reading her answer, it's easy to understand why. She's prioritized helping other women in light of what has happened in her life.

Years ago I was the victim of a serious crime and for many years I kept it a secret and internalized the pain. Outwardly, I was engaging in self destructive behaviors. My personal life was suffering, my family life was suffering, my health and well being was suffering.

One day I decided, I would not let it destroy me anymore. I prioritized my own well being and health and too the steps necessary to create change in my life instead of giving up on myself. I prioritized my own self care and in doing so I discovered the true strength and resilience of the human spirit.

It changed my life forever and started me on the path to helping women lead safer lives so they could reach their fullest potential.

These three ladies have shared three different view-points about self-care and its importance in their lives. I thought their stories brought about one important thing that might help ease the fears of attendees: They are real women who have made real choices -- good and bad -- and have learned valuable lessons on self-care that they can share with you. I hope it's given you something to think about as you begin to plan which panels to attend at Healthminder Day on Thursday, July 25, 2013 in Chicago. Don't forget to check out the Agenda for more information on each Self-Care and Social Health panel featured here, as well as the two other tracks: Fitness and Nutrition, and Special Needs and Caregiving. I'll be sharing interviews with select speakers from the other two tracks next week. Be sure to check them out as well!


Family/Moms & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog.


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