None of my clothes fit anymore. Recently, I’ve lost 28 pounds. Exciting, right? No more fat daddy! But even better than the weight loss, is the way I feel. I’m more alert, less fatigued, and less anxious. Even though I’m full of energy now, I’m sleeping better than ever. In the words of James Brown, “I feel good!” Trust me, if I didn’t feel so good, I wouldn’t work this hard every single day. But I wasn't always a gym rat.
For 18 years - from my sophomore year in high school, until just 6 months ago - I didn’t do anything to take care of my physical self. I was in church every time the doors were open. I prayed morning, noon, and night, but caring for my physical, mental, and emotional health just wasn’t a priority for me.
But I am not alone. And if you lack good self care, you aren't alone either. A study by the American Board of Family Medicine analyzed healthcare related self care data from Americans, aged 25 and older, from the years 2003-2007. Their results? “Of Americans 25 years of age and older, 6.6% engaged in health-related self-care each day.”
I read that and my immediate response was a massive, “What the hell is going on with the other 93.4% of Americans over the age of 25?” Our Canadian friends at the Crisis Centre, estimate the total cost of stress in the North American economy between 150 billion and 300 billion dollars per year.
With a “B”.
There’s a reason for that. From my own experience as an author, pastor, and mental health advocate, I know that most Americans suffer from a chronic lack of self care.
Do you lack self care? Answer these 5 easy questions:
- Do you feel rested after a full night’s sleep? According to a study by the CDC, 35% of adults from 12 states reported less than 7 hours of sleep. 4.7% also reported nodding off or falling asleep during the day at least once in a one month period.
- How active are you? The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition says, that “less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day.”
- Are you angry? You are not alone. UC Davis reports that “1 out of 5 Americans has an anger management problem”.
- Got a headache? A study by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that 1 in 7 Americans are affected by migraines annually.
- Do you want to die? The AFSP reports an average of 121 people die by suicide each day in the United States.
Self care is lacking from almost all of our lives. It’s a major problem. We work too much, our calendars are filled with activity, and we don’t know how to say “no”. We’re anxious, depressed, tired, isolated, overweight, underappreciated, mad as hell, and many of us have considered suicide at least once.
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, it’s time to put yourself first for a while. Starting a good self care routine might include working with a professional until you get on the right track, or you could start with something as simple as the 7-Day Self Care Challenge. It’s FREE, hopeful, helpful, and so much fun!
Are you ready to take control of your life? Are you ready to start owning your story? Do you want to learn how to create boundaries? Do you need a really good friend who will remind you that your life matters? Then sign up for the 7-Day Self Care Challenge today!