In my medical practice I am diagnosing more and more women with autoimmune illnesses. Women are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases 10 times more than men are. There are several reasons for this, but I have noticed that much of it has to do with the fact that women spend more time caring for others than they do themselves.
Research tells us that people who take time to regenerate their batteries are healthier, more creative, happier, and enjoy more abundance in all areas of life.
The following quiz will help you assess where you are in your own self-care habits. If you know where you are, you can know if something in your life needs to shift. This is not meant to be a tool that you use to beat yourself up with, but rather a way to address the places in your life that could use a little more love.
There is no right or wrong way of caring for yourself. However, the little girl in you would love for you to pay attention to her and take time out to be with her, loving her and nurturing her. Remember that longing? As adults we often look to others to care for us, the way we wanted our parents to love us. However, the people in your life have no way of knowing exactly what you need, how much you need of it, and in what timing you need it. It’s impossible for them to know how to read your mind. You are the only one who knows you. It’s time to tune into you and listen carefully to the little girl who is telling you exactly what she needs to hear from you.
For the following questions, please rank each item on a scale of 0–5.
0 – Never 1 – Rarely 2 – Sometimes 3 – Often 4 – Regularly 5 – Always
Taking Care of Your Body—How often do you:
- Eat a whole foods-based diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables?
- Drink 8 glasses of pure water?
- Exercise for more than 40 minutes per day?
- Wake up feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep?
- Sleep 8 hours per night?
- Take time to breathe deeply throughout the day?
- Feel sexual desire for yourself or a partner you love?
Taking Care of Your Heart —How often do you:
- Make time to participate in things you enjoy?
- Give and receive affection regularly?
- Feel understood and valued by those who are close to you?
- Feel gratitude on a daily basis?
- Engage in a forgiveness practice daily?
- Enjoy a good belly laugh every day?
- Express your feelings, including your hurts, when you feel them?
Taking Care of Your Mind—How often do you:
- Engage in stress-reducing activities (excluding TV or screen time)?
- Find meaning in life even during difficult times?
- Take an interest in or find joy in the world around you?
- Have hope that things will get better?
- Question your own thoughts to make sure they are true?
- Pay attention to the tone of the voice you are using to talk to yourself?
- Challenge yourself to learn something new?
Taking Care of Your Spirit —How often do you:
- Make time to contemplate, meditate or pray?
- Spend time in nature?
- Express your creativity?
- Make your dreams a priority?
- Feel that life is on your side and supporting you?
- Take time to listen to the synchronicities of life?
- Feel fulfilled spiritually?
Taking Care of Your Social Needs —How often do you:
- Feel you can depend on at least one person who has your back?
- Feel supported by community?
- Socialize with people who lift you up?
- Participate in activities you are interested in?
- Make a date with someone special weekly?
- Ask for help when you need it?
- Set good boundaries and say no to activities you don’t want to spend time on?
Taking Care of Your Professional Needs —How often do you:
- Work in a profession that fulfills you?
- Have a job that is in line with your long-term goals?
- Get to work in an environment that matches your personality?
- Feel supported in your work with proper guidance and mentorship?
- Create a work-life balance that you are happy with?
- Let down your hair and leave work behind to go on vacation?
If you scored 40-42 you are a self-care rock star.
If you scored 6 or 7 in any given category you are doing great in that arena.
Take a look at each category and see where you need to improve.
If you scored 3 or lower in any division, take a moment and brain storm some ways you can improve.
What goals can you set to up level your quality and quantity of self-care? If you would like some help you can subscribe to my 21 Day Quick Start Self-Care Guide. You will receive 21 days of emails, each containing one quick and easy self-care activity you can implement that will soon become habit. These are designed for busy people who burst into tears in my office when I start talking about taking time out of their over-scheduled lives for themselves. These will not add to your stress, but rather provide more emotional resilience so you can handle your life without the tearful breakdowns that can eventually lead to pain, inflammation and even autoimmune disease and cancer.
Dr. Keesha Ewers, the Mystic Medicine Doctor, is an integrative medicine expert, Doctor of Sexology, psychotherapist, Huachumera (medicine woman trained in plant medicine from Peru), and the founder and medical director of the Academy for Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification Program.
Dr. Keesha has been in the medical field for over 30 years. After conducting the HURT Study in 2013 (Healing Un-Resolved Trauma), she developed the HURT Model for understanding how past childhood trauma impacts adult health. This led to the creation of the You Unbroken online program for patients to heal their own trauma and the Mystic Medicine deep immersion healing retreats she leads at her home on San Juan Island, WA.
Dr. Keesha is a popular speaker, including at Harvard and from the TEDx stage, and the best-selling author of Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle: The Woman’s Guide to Reclaiming Emotional Freedom and Vibrant Health, The Quick and Easy Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook: Anti-Inflammatory Recipes with 7 Ingredients or Less for Busy People, and Your Libido Story: A workbook for women who want to find, fix, and free their sexual desire. You can listen to her Mystic Medicine Radio Show and find her programs at www.DrKeesha.com.