• Jocelyn Bystrom

When you don't provide your body self-care!



How would you describe your current ability to take care of your:

hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle, environmental factors, socio-economic factors, and self-medication? Each of these is imperative for self-care according to the World Health Organization. A complete definition of self-care as defined by the World Health Organization can be found here.



Six Ways to Practice Self-Care: Check out this link from the Canadian Association for Mental Health


What are your Non-Negotiables?



This past weekend my daughter invited to me to WOA. What’s that? you’re probably wondering. Women’s Outdoor Adventure camp. Saying yes, was seriously the most therapeutic choice I’ve made in the past few months, and helped me to reflect on what my non-negotiables are as well as how I would create firm boundaries around them. Initially, my "YES" was an easy decision, because I love spending time and hanging out with our daughter, and secondly after all have us have journeyed through the pandemic with its long drought of contact with family and friends, I was absolutely ready to connect, hug, and listen.



Arriving at camp, a camp I might add which was specifically designed for women to have an opportunity to be refreshed, re-charge and re-connect, I realized that I've been longing to make choices that align with my priorities. Bottom line, I recognized I was ready, and wanted to take care of my needs. All of them. Including physical, spiritual, and mental health to ensure I can become the best version of myself I can be.


I'd forgotten to bring something to read, although I'd gifted my daughter a magazine as part of her birthday package that I'd presented as we arrived at camp. She graciously loaned it back to me to read. Who doesn't buy gifts for others that they'd love themselves. It's a favourite magazine of mine called: Breathe. The latest edition is, The Stress Less Special. I was hooked from the first article to second to last. I ran out of weekend to finish it, before returning it at the end of the weekend. Happy Birthday sweetie! *After note - I bought myself a copy after dropping her off at the ferry. I'm worth it!


In an article titled, Navigating the non-negotiables (pp. 9-11) I'd come across this question for reflection:


Question: “How in a busy life with responsibilities, schedules, and a limited budget, do you incorporate non-negotiables?”


The article further suggests that “taking care of your own needs isn’t wrong; it isn’t putting yourself ahead of everyone else, and doesn’t mean you don’t care about anyone else. You need to be cared for to thrive, just as your family and friends do, and in doing so you’re simply saying you matter as well.”


Camp Imadene, was by far the best ever self-care experience. Check out upcoming camps for details. You won't be disappointed. Included in the price was unlimited special coffees or teas from the Imabean cafe. While relaxing in an idyllic setting lakeside, in style and comfort without my cellphone, I found myself in community with fabulous women also seeking inspiration and nurture, in addition to various outdoor activities, art activities to bring out your inner creative, and to swim till my heart was full, very full. All this in a safe, caring environment where you could just be yourself, without judgement! It was bliss.


Art, I’ve come to appreciate for me is a wonderful tool, and venue for therapeutic self-expression. As participants we were provided everything we needed included in the cost to create, make, and reflect. My favourite activity, using acrylics and a new technique to create a painting that breathed new life into me. (image attached) Thanks, W for the gift of your time talents and expertise.




Next I chose to try out the turbo bikes (warning - turbo bikes cause intense joy and laughter). I have a highly competitive personality, in addition to a body moving through recovery from months of seizures. The turbo bikes, although potentially hazardous to my health, brought huge smiles, and insight into how not to ride them . I got a slow start, but was soon giggling my way around the track (much like a go-cart track). I had numerous crashes into giant tires, all self-inflicted due to speed and taking corners at ridiculously speed. But the laughter, lightness, and joy far outweighed any risk. At race end I wasn’t the reigning champion, however my heart had expanded, my mind relaxed and I definitely had an unexpected cardio, but enjoyable work out.


As we were challenged to reflect on our non-negotiables, “those things that are unshifting aspects of how you live and interact with others” I made a commitment to myself. I will not be on my computer or screens after 10:00p.m., despite my current zeal to complete my #mentalhealth memoir / manuscript. I’m choosing to prioritize sleep hygiene. I'm creating a boundary around the time necessary to slow down ‘off screen’ before expecting my body to be prepared to rest well. If we don't say enough, our body will, and it will take what it needs, even if its detrimental to your physical, mental and spiritual health. Mine did. I'm in recovery, choosing to live a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life even if there may be on-going limitations due to mental health diagnoses. I'm worthy of self-care, and enough.


You might be thinking, 10:00 p.m. that far too late to be on-screen… I'm taking small steps. I’m giving myself permission to be proud of taking small steps in the right direction. I want to choose an achievable goal. This is mine.


Leave a comment below and let us know what some of your non-negotiables are?


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