What are needs? Do you mean meet other people’s needs? My kids? My partner? My dysfunctional parents?
I remember taking care of my parents when I was a kid. Is this what you mean? I don’t know what my needs are. I get hungry. I get tired. Is this what you mean? Sometimes I think I get my wants and needs mixed up. I need to eat but I work instead. I need to sleep but I binge watch television instead. I need to go to the doctor but I work instead. I need to go to the dentist but I take pain killer instead. I don’t remember anyone caring about my needs. I do remember being yelled at or ignored when I tried to ask for something. I think I learned not to ask for what you need….. the consequence was too painful. I would get sick and my mom would say, “stop complaining, it will clear up in a couple of days”. I remember being really sick. Is this what you mean?
Taking care of one’s self is a mystery for the adaptive child (a term coined by Pia Melody and Terry Real). Typically an adult child (survivor of dysfunctional or abusive parenting) has no idea how to take care of one’s self. Everything and everyone comes before them and so the adaptive child continues to muster through an adult life often feeling overwhelmed and confused.
Here are some basic factors to remember in self-care:
- Eating three healthy meals a day.
- Learning how to eat healthily.
- Exercising at least 3 x a week. (walking 30 mins does the trick)
- Getting regular 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Seeing a doctor or family doctor for routine visits.
- Following through on medical tests should this be necessary.
- Seeing a dentist for regular cleanings.
- Staying in regular contact with friends.
- Maintaining healthy family relationships.
- Spending quality time with a partner and or your family.
- Setting good boundaries. Saying NO when you want to instead of saying YES when you don’t want to.