I recently got served up a HUGE slice of humble pie. I may have eaten the entire thing by myself! (Chomp chomp chomp)

I spend a lot of time encouraging people to take care of themselves.  I remind them about self-care, good nutrition, lots of sleep, exercise, stretching, making yourself a priority, and really just focusing on health from the inside out.  I’m a big believer that if you feed and support your immune system, it will do its job fighting off “the bad guys” and keep you healthy.

And yet *ahem*  I do not always take the time to really nourish my own body and mind.  *insert sheepish look here*

Sometimes that leads to grumpy moods.  Sometimes it leads to body aches and pains.  Sometimes it leads to fatigue or even full on exhaustion.  Recently it led to me getting sick and being unable to work for two weeks. TWO ENTIRE WEEKS!!!!!!

This is a long time to be away from any job, but it’s especially tough when you’re a solopreneur with a micro-business like mine. It’s inconvenient for my clients and I hate having to cancel appointments that clients have scheduled in advance.

But my body was saying “Enough!”

First, my husband got the flu.  As in “went and got tested and had Influenza B and was given Tamiflu” got the flu.  It hit on a Tuesday and he had it about a week.  No problem.  I went along, helping him as I could, being a mom, running my business, etc.  I made sure to eat well and do things I normally do when there’s illness around me to try to support my own immune system.  Garlic, ginger, zinc, lots of sleep, non-stop hand washing, etc.  All was going well until Sunday when I started to feel a bit “off.”  Not quite sick.  Definitely not like my husband, but my energy was low and I didn’t feel quite right.  At the same time, my daughter broke her hand and needed a cast.

Unfortunately, I only got worse. I had to cancel clients and began experiencing “sleep at least 12 hours a day” exhaustion.  I lost my appetite.  My head was congested.  I lost my voice. I was coughing.  Everything moved into my chest to the point where I could not take a deep breath.  I started to feel a bit better and then took a turn for the worse.  I kept thinking “I have to feel better tomorrow.”  Finally, I went to the doctor. I was given an antibiotic for a respiratory infection.  The antibiotic caused so much nausea I couldn’t eat.  I got weaker.  I kept sleeping. And sleeping…

Once I stopped the antibiotic (on doctor’s orders), I finally started to be able to eat a little but it still look me about 4 days to recover my strength.

Wow. Just Wow.  It was the sickest I remember being in a long, long time.

All the time ignoring myself and putting others first (family, friends, and clients) came back to slap me around and say “HEY! Have you heard what you say to your clients?  You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of you!  PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST!”

So I ate my Humble Pie and admitted I better start focusing on me again. It’s not the first time this has happened.  (Ask me about my sciatica a few years ago.)  I can’t please and do for everyone else all the time. Not everyone will like that, but my main responsibility is to myself.  Because indeed I CAN’T take care of others if I don’t take care of myself.   I have to put myself first.

And so do you. You must put yourself first. 

Skip the Humble Pie.  It has an interesting flavor, but trust me when I say you can live without it.  Go with apple or cherry or fresh blueberry or whatever your favorite is.  Hey, go with ice cream if you prefer!  Whatever tickles your tastebuds.

But start putting yourself first.  Start today.  What’s your plan to make that happen?