Health Care Reform for Overshoppers: The Centrality of Self Care (Part II)

In the last posting, we saw how important self-care is for the overshopper who wants to stop. We noted that overshoppers, who often juggle several roles, tend to relegate self-care to the back burner (or take it off the stove entirely), and we focused on anticipating, rather than reacting to, personal needs.

Today, I want to flesh out these observations. So take a deep breath—and then an honest look at the basics of your physical comfort, health, and safety. How well are you doing in these areas? What aren’t you taking care of? Would it be a good idea to:

  • write a list of emergency contacts and post them on your refrigerator door?
  • check your burglar or fire alarm system, or relearn how to work it?
  • contact an attorney or accountant on a matter you’ve procrastinated about (for example, filing quarterly taxes or updating your will)?
  • make an appointment to improve the safety of your car (such as bad brakes or bald tires)?
  • remove physical hazards from your home (chemicals or loose wires) or health hazards (dust, mold, or pests)?
  • exercise for at least twenty minutes several times a week?
  • prepare a healthy meal for immediate or future use?
  • make a medical or dental appointment, whether routine or in response to symptoms?
  • drink at least forty-eight ounces of water a day?
  • take daily vitamins and medications as prescribed?
  • get more sleep?
  • engage in positive, safe sex?
  • set up a retirement account?
  • open the mail and process it in a timely manner?

Now make a list for yourself of the items above that genuinely need attention—and any important others you’ve thought of. This gives you a set of things you could accomplish in anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours—perhaps the same amount of time you spend shopping on any given day. Beware of the part of you that will say you can’t do these things, that you don’t have the time or money, that they don’t or won’t matter anyway. Listen instead to the small, quiet voice that knows better and can see through these excuses.

You might want to make copies of the list for your bulletin board and refrigerator. You’ll then have a handy reminder of several ways to care for yourself instead of shopping. One word of caution: Don’t think of these as things you should do but rather as things it makes sense to do. Think of them as caring gifts for the happier, healthier, safer version of yourself that you’re becoming.

In the next posting, we’ll look at the third and final leg of the stool that supports us. Having examined self-kindness and self-care, we’ll conclude with a (somewhat poetic) discussion of self-respect.

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