Is it ever the right time for self-care?

Self-care? I don’t have time for it!
Relaxation? I am too stressed to even think about it.
Prevention? I will deal with problems when they arrive.

Over the years of working as a Buteyko Specialist, I heard these phrases and learned that, often, people have other priorities besides their health. I don’t judge them because I am also guilty of this approach. Sometimes, my work carries me away and becomes more critical than my rest; then, I end up feeling exhausted to the point that I cannot do anything and have to spend a whole day in bed keeping my eyes closed. Fortunately, these episodes have become less frequent because I have practiced the Buteyko method for the last 15 years. Peaceful breathing helps me maintain balance, yet a crisis still happens whenever I neglect my self-care.

People often feel that regular maintenance of their cars is more important than their own, that taking care and expressing love to their children is more important than self-care and self-love, and that treating their cats’ anxiety is more important than their own. As a fan of altruism, I understand and support this approach, but only sometimes! From my and my client’s mistakes, I learned how important it is to say “no” to this merry-go-round because the excuses, enabling us to neglect ourselves, never stop… unless we stop them!

Subconsciously, people often keep a door open and even welcome a disease into their lives by habitually denying their needs. The disease becomes a guest we have invited to host (because we long for a good excuse to practice self-care), yet as soon as the disease enters our homes, we want it to disappear. We now forget that the disease was called because it was needed to break our self-neglect routine. When the disease forces us to acknowledge our needs and take care of ourselves, we scream, “I will take care of myself. I promise. Please trust me and go away.” Sometimes, this unwanted guest listens to its host, and sometimes, it just laughs; “I have given you many chances,” it says, “but you did not use these opportunities. Sorry, it’s too late… I am here to stay”.

No matter how scary and uncomfortable a disease can be, often its motivation is benevolent; it is trying to force us to improve our health before it’s too late. It is a disease that takes us away from our  chores and socializing, makes us work less, talk less, eat less, and rest more. According to Dr. Buteyko, a disease often acts as a guard, protecting us from total CO2 loss that causes death. Disease creates various symptoms, encouraging us to take care of our breathing and start rebuilding our vitality. In my experience, a disease often goes away only when we learn how to breathe healthily.

But do we need to wait for a health crisis to practice self-care? Next year, I will be 60 years old, and being closer than ever to the inevitable, I decided to put my energy into creating unique in-person opportunities for health improvement, disease prevention, and longevity support. Of course, they must be based on the work of K.P. Buteyko, MD, and, consequently, understanding that there is no health without healthy breathing. As a part of this vision, I organized the Joyful Journey to Health retreat, where every element is designed to support the participants’ well-being and improve their quality of life. I hope that during this 5-day-long CO-2 boosting event, the participants will feel that (finally!) they have time for self-care and will make a solid contribution to establishing optimal health.

This retreat will take place in a natural hot spring spa, well-known for its healing qualities. Native Americans considered this place sacred and traveled for months to soak in its live-giving water that nourishes respiratory, immune, and nervous systems, improves sleep, and boosts energy. There is no better place (I know of) for practicing the Buteyko breathing exercises! Hot mineral-rich water, in combination with dry and sunny weather, high-altitude, and pristine mountain air, create a true elixir of life that naturally reduces air intake and increases carbon dioxide in the lungs, known as prana.

This retreat can create dedicated time for self-care, resulting in disease prevention, health improvement, and, perhaps, even a cure. Of course, taking this Joyful Journey is not the only self-care option but a good choice to break a chain of self-neglect and prioritize your well-being. There is no need to wait for a disease to force us to improve when we can do it joyfully.

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