Do you really love your family?

I know this may be a complicated question for some, as we all have some version of a “love/hate” relationship with family members. Most of us would say that, in general, we love our kids. We love our spouse.  We love our parents.   And we want to be there for them.

But my real question is about how you take care of yourself and your physical and mental health, as many of us are not thinking long term. If you really loved your family members, then would you be taking better care of your own health, both physically and mentally?

Would you make different choices? Would you schedule time weekly to do cardio exercises, ensuring you are heart healthy long term? I’m not talking about a slow walk around the block with your dog.  I’m talking about working up a sweat and burning some calories, on a regular basis.

Would you be mindful of your food choices when buying groceries or when dining out? Would you think twice about ordering a burger and fries when healthier options are available?  Would you try intermittent fasting to get your blood sugar in line and consume less calories?  Would you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, cut down on red meat or stop eating fried foods?

What about getting enough sleep? Do you set yourself up for a restful night of sleep (7-8 hours)? For me, that means planning ahead for when I need to be up in the morning and counting back 8.5 hours, ensuring I get enough rest.

What about times of emotional distress? A death of a relative or close friend, marital or relationship challenges, or a serious illness. Do you reach out for help? I remember what it took for me to see a therapist the first time, over 25 years ago.  It was a real process to realize I was not broken, but rather that there were professionals out there who could help me process the emotions I was experiencing.

This past week I saw a dear, lifelong friend.  He’s a few years older than me and we don’t see each other very often. Something was not right, as he wasn’t his usual vibrant self that I’ve come to know so well. One of his closest friends had recently passed away and I sensed that he was experiencing tremendous grief. As we get older, we experience the passing of people who seem “too young”, far more often and it’s easy to fall into despair.

We might drink a little more.  Eat some unhealthy foods and stop our exercise routine. All while our sleep patterns become erratic.  It can quickly become a downward spiral. We chalk it up to “being sad or in mourning”.

So, I ask the question: “Do you really love your family?”. The family that is still alive.  It could be your kids, grandkids, or other important people in your life.

If you really love your family, you will make changes that guarantee a healthier, longer life.  And you don’t have to be in your 60s, 70s, or 80s to be thinking about these decisions. Start living now and share the best version of yourself with your family.

Contrary to popular belief, none of us are invincible. Take some time and think about how you show up for yourself. You don’t have to love the reflection in the mirror, but you should strive to get to a place where you like the person staring back at you. Once this happens, you’ll begin down a path of prioritizing healthy choices and create a space that promotes self-love.

Karen