Self care is a term I took from my nursing background. It’s one of many concepts taught in nursing school. And it is relevant to what we do in garden farming, homesteading, or subsistence living (which ever term you prefer) because self-care is an important and often neglected aspect of our society.
In general, it refers to what type of nutrition do we provide for ourselves? And how do we provide physical and mental fitness for ourselves? So many people these days neglect these issues while prescribing to the fast paced lifestyle of today. “Gosh,” they say, “It’s late. I don’t have time to cook. I think I’ll just swing by McDonald’s on the way home.”
I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of doing the same. And I am honestly glad that we do have that option. The problem comes when our lifestyles dictate that we depend on ‘eating out’ as our main form of nourishment. And in general, if we do not have time to cook, we are not having time to exercise either. The result is the kind of poor health within our society that I see on a daily basis in the emergency room where I work.
What prompted me to think of this was a recent conversation I had with some of my healthcare coworkers. We were talking about physical fitness and what we should be doing for exercise. Some of the older ones expressed a great love of the weight watchers program and a regimen of daily walking. One of the younger women declared that what works best for her is joining a gym and using it religiously. She even goes to the extent of hiring a personal trainer and buying all the health food supplements available today.
These are all active healthy people who are providing self-care through routine maintenance. And I’ll admit there was a time in my life when I did many of these things as well. I’ve had gym memberships and I’ve bought health food. I’ve rolled out of bed religiously at 5:30 am to exercise before going to work. Of course those were in the days when I was either single or married without children.
These days, my routine is different. I’m not nearly in the same physical shape I was 20 years ago. But I’m healthy and recognizing the real benefits of subsistence farming. It offers regular outdoor exercise–even in the winter time I can find projects that need to be completed around the home. And it is a stress reliever, an opportunity to relax and spend time with my wife and children away from the pressures of work. And I think that is where this method of self-care really shines. It involves the family, and allows us to spend time together, sharing in the experiences of planting gardens, picking berries, and caring for animals.
So in short, homesteading, subsistence farming, garden farming or whatever you choose to call it, is an excellent form of self-care. Kudos to all of you who are making self-care a part of your lives!