Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – September 2021 – The Relationship with Ourselves -Self-Care

Relationships with ourselves – Self-Care

Welcome to my Realms of Relationships column at Smorgasbord Blog Magazine. Today I want to talk about the most important relationship we can have, and that’s the one we have with ourselves. It’s often easy to overlook ourselves, especially when times are tense, fast, and frazzled with life’s daily grind. And if we have loved ones to care for on top of daily living, often, the last person being served is usually ourselves.

I’m a living testament of what self-neglect can leave behind as resulting damage. Often, we get so wrapped up in our lives and lose track of time – the time we let ourselves go. So yes, self-compassion and self-care are just as essential for us to live in good health – not just to survive.

Sometimes, some of the most nurturing people forget that taking care of others requires us to be in good health in order to care of someone else. But often in the middle of trauma, our focus often falls on the loved one we’re caring for – both young and old, without giving a second thought for our own well-being. I know this because I lived it.

Self- care encompasses the daily things we do for ourselves to keep our health in check – hygiene, eating properly, taking meds and required vitamins, and getting in exercise and enough sleep. Most importantly, any ailments we feel coming on should be dealt with as soon as possible once we notice things aren’t running as smoothly with our bodies, and not left to fester until such time we decide to stop pushing aside things a doctor needs to have a look at. And then there is emotional health.

If we are living through a stressful time, not just our physical health needs tending to, but, we need an outlet to relieve some of the mental angst that can sometimes translate to more physical ailments. Trust me, it’s not a myth, stress and worry have the ability to do great damage within us. Just like a health regimen followed daily creates cumulative benefits that add up daily, not following one will most certainly chip away at all the goodness we’ve already accrued through time as we continue to neglect ourselves.

Taking care of ourselves is vital for us to function optimally, but especially when someone else is relying on us to take care of them. When chaos or trauma strike, it shouldn’t mean that we abandon what’s important for us to remain in good health, but so often we’ll sacrifice what’s good for us and put others before us. Here’s what we need to know about taking care of ourselves:

  • Make sure to get enough sleep – not getting enough sleep can initiate other health problems.
  • Make mealtime a routine at least twice a day if you can’t manage three squares. If you eat a good breakfast it can sustain you through the day in case you do happen to miss out on lunch. But even more important to eat a healthy dinner, especially if we’re missing that lunch.
  • Don’t stop taking important vitamins and supplements, especially if you’re deficient in them. Not eating properly during stressful times, then not taking supplementation, doubles the drain on our bodies leaving us without efficient fuel or nutrients.
  • Take a timeout and go for a walk, read a chapter, listen to music – whatever you enjoy for a mental health break from high stressed life. If you’re caring for someone 24/7, arrange for someone to come by and give you a break for some down time and time to get household essentials looked after, and maybe even to eke out some personal time.

You can take this Self Well-Being test here to see how you’re doing: Berkeley Wellbeing Survey

How I can attest to this advice? Because I became one of those self-neglecters.

During my husband’s illness when I was caring for him 24/7, the last thing on my mind was about what I needed. While my world was spiraling out of sense, I didn’t care about eating properly, sometimes not eating at all. I had no appetite. I’d sneak in a shower when my husband would sleep, or if one of his personal support workers were bathing him.

I was full of preliminary grief and anxiety, and I wasn’t hungry. I had zero time for exercise, nor the inclination, and would not leave my husband alone even to go out for a walk. Our gym where I live has been closed since Covid came and only recently opened. I didn’t get to feel the sunshine on my skin for over half a year, I even abandoned taking my supplements to compensate for nutrients I wasn’t getting from lack of food and sunlight – such as Vitamin D, among other important vitamins and supplementation.

Because my old routine was no longer and I was up and down like a robot living in auto-pilot mode, my eating was sparse, my worry meter was in full mode, and sleep became a luxury. If I finally took a moment to throw something into my mouth, I certainly wasn’t thinking about vitamins.

I basically fell into a pattern of no discipline and no regard for myself while I lived with fear and uncertainty. In my mind’s eye, I felt I was relatively healthy and certainly my disruption of my regular healthy routine could survive a few months of neglect? Wrong.

I knew I’d pushed beyond my own boundaries of enough is enough and my health had become compromised somewhere between neglect and a broken heart. And as one who is always so adamant about taking precautions with health, I fell off the wagon and it caught up with me in this current year.

After neglecting my health through that time, I became like a car driven to the ground, having no fuel, no TLC and a burned out transmission. As if my husband’s health issues and his eventual demise wasn’t enough, I went through the worst move of my life – physically and emotionally. I was literally running on fumes, pushing myself to the finish line, where I could finally sit down and exhale. And when I reached that place, slowly and surely, all my bad neglect had caught up with me.

I’d already known my blood pressure was getting high – formerly never an issue with me as I was usually the cliched 120/80. I’d take my pressure at home after I’d take my husband’s, which was ironically, much better than mine. My gums started occasional bleeding, I became aware of a tiny red sore on my nose that when I’d scratch it off, would come back repeatedly. And most of all, I began having weird sensations in my heart and moments of shorting of breath. Coincidentally, I had just had my last annual Echo-Doppler ultrasound done on my heart last November and all seemed well. November when my life hit the tailspin.

Shortly after burying my husband, I called my dermatologist for an appointment about my nose after ignoring it for 6 months. Sure enough, it was a pesky tiny pre-cancerous growth she removed and sent me home with a chemo-therapy cream to use for ten days then I was to return a month later where she had to do another round of removing a spot she missed.

Apparently, gums react to stress and improper diet too. My dentist prescribed a special rinse for my gums. Next, my GP finally opened up in-office practice again a month ago, so I booked myself a physical. I told my doctor all I was experiencing. She’d already knew well what I’d been living through because she kindly booked me weekly tele-health calls with her for my mental health while caring for my husband, and the aftermath.

She sent me for bloodwork workup and to a heart clinic for a stress test. That scared me. All I’d known from heart tests were my parents and my husband. My bloodwork labs came back with a flashing red flag stating I was dangerously low in Vitamin D, and my stress test came back, prompting my doctor to give me a call.

I got the lecture I deserved and was prescribed 5000 units a day Vitamin D for three months and then re-testing. Because the stress test showed some parts where I didn’t take in enough oxygen, my doctor decided to send me to a cardiologist for further investigation. There, I was given an EKG, another Echo Doppler ultra-sound, and then fitted with a Holster monitor I had to wear for two days around my neck to monitor what my heart was up to for a few days in my life. Currently, I’m still awaiting the results with a call from the cardiologist, and am quite concerned, praying results don’t lead to anything scarier. The cardiologist isn’t back in office and my telephone appointment with him for results isn’t until later this week.

When all this heart talk came about, all I could think about was all my heart had endured and the continual weight of the grief that remains upon it that barely eases; it reminded me of how I always blamed my mother for bashing my father’s heart and him ultimately dying because he felt so broken and no longer cared about taking care of himself.

I told my doctor, now I understand how it could really happen, that someone could really die from a broken heart. She said she couldn’t disagree.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s edition of Realms of Relationships and taken something from it to adapt to your own life. I wanted to emphasize the importance of self-care, and since I was a living example of what neglect can result into, I felt it important to share. I’ve cleaned up my act since my physical a few weeks ago, and now I remain nerved out until I get the full lowdown on my prognosis.

If anyone would like to share an experience of your own about letting yourself go in times of trouble, and what you did to make a comeback, we’re all ears here.


My thanks to Debby for this important reminder that we do need to take care of ourselves as a priority, particularly if we are caring for someone else who relies on our strength.

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.

I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.


“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the reviews for Words We Carry

Luv2read 5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book  Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2021

What starts with the author’s explanation of why she wrote the book: namely to share negative experiences and obstacles in which self-esteem issues and insecurities when faced and dealt with blossom to learning self-love; this is a remarkable revolutionary read.

One I wish I would have read in my earlier teen years when I struggled with my own self-esteem issues. Self-perception baggage from wounded egos, what weighs us down, fester and damage the soul the author writes. So true. This is so well written that it’s not just an enlightening educational tool but a wonderful read from a woman not afraid to show her underbelly, huge heart, and she does it with much authenticity and talent. I resonated with so much of what she wrote in these enlightening pages, but what stands out the most is how I slid down the rabbit’s hole due to my desire to want to belong, to socially fit.

I suppose all of us who relate to this unfolding have a personal story of our own. Mine was rooted in a family dynamic that made it difficult for me to have friends to my home and consequently I missed out on social bonding that helps develop a strong sense of self. It wasn’t until later in life, in high school and university, that I encountered warm satisfying friendships. By then the damage was done. I just wish I had this book in my earlier years to have helped my younger, more formative self. Thankfully, it’s never too late to unwind wounds and deepen self-love, which is another thing I found from this beautifully powerful read. In summation, let me say I am grateful I had this recommended to me by a friend, someone whose words I respect. This gem of a book did not disappoint. Highly recommend.  

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Debby: Goodreads

Connect to Debby Gies – Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye – Twitter: @pokercubster Linkedin: D.G. Kaye – Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye


Thanks for joining Debby today and please share your experiences in the comments.. thanks Sally.

87 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – September 2021 – The Relationship with Ourselves -Self-Care

  1. Debby, I’m sure most of your friends are going to be on tenterhooks until we hear the results of your cardiology results and share the prognosis with you. It’s all too easy to let things slide for ourselves when other things occupy our minds. I know I was on Adcals for vitamin C after not leaving the house in a long time but I stopped taking them after a while and as I haven’t seen my doctor in a couple of years I haven’t had my ears battered yet. I also find I’m forgetting my evening/nightly medication more and more and that won’t go down well on my next blood test. But you mustn’t get to this stage of self neglect, you don’t have the age that lets you get away with that yet. Please look after yourself.
    Huge Hugs

    Liked by 5 people

    • Huge hugs to you David. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Oh yes, I learned a huge lesson through all this, and that’s why I wanted to share and to let others know just how easily we fall out of routines when life hits hard. And no, thankfully, I’ve still got my faculties, but my memory has sucked since the old menopause hit, lol. And I can’t tell you how many times I forget if I took my thyroid pill, so I’ve learned to take it out of the bottle in the morning and let it sit there til I take it. If it’s gone, I must have taken it. Lol. Massive hugs my friend. xxx

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Healing hugs to you, Debby – I loved this timely reminder of the importance of self-care. I’m pleased to hear that you’ve been busily attending to all those things you neglected while so devoted and loving to your poor husband. I’ve been trying to focus on self-care this year, so found this very helpful. Toni x

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Gosh, what a time you had, especially to recover from long time self-neclecting. A very useful posting, and i hope you will never again do this against your body and soul, Debby. Best wishes, and enjoy a beautiful (rest of the) week. Happy Yom Kippur! xx Michael

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I am afraid I fail the sleep test as I haven’t slept properly since the menopause anyway! When my husband finally had to stay in the hospital bed downstairs I slept on sofa cushions on the floor beside him and ironically it was really comfortable and I drifted off to sleep much better than usual. Only of course to be immediately woken up at frequent intervals as he wanted help to move around. After he died the family were surprised I decided never to sleep in our bedroom or the double bed again and my younger son and daughter-in-law decorated the back bedroom and moved everything around and I ordered an IKEA single bed. Plumped up with pillows like a nest. Early on I just got up and made a cup of tea in the middle of the night to take back to bed and listened to the world service. I do eat properly and have my hot meal in the evening- tray on my lap propped up with cushions, nestled in throws and watching something cheerful on television. Now my son and daughter-in-law are living here, though working away a lot, it is good to have proper meals at the table and conversation and laughter.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you Janet for sharing some of yourself here about how you handled your own journey through grief. Isn’t it funny how we all differently deal with our grief? For you, once you made your little cushion bed beside your husband, chose to change beds and move to another room. Me, I look forward to sleeping in the bed we shared for almost 25 years together. It’s a king-size. I have a shrine of sentimental things tucked around his pillow I wrap my arm around when I go to sleep. It’s the only time of day (night) when I still feel close to him there.
      You are blessed to have children and have them living with you. Tender mercies.<3

      Liked by 3 people

      • Sounds beautiful Janet. Me, my home is a complete shrine. My walls are plastered with many photos of me and my hubby. And if they don’t clog up the place, my numerous angels I’ve collected and been gifted through the years are also on walls on many other surfaces. It’s whatever gives us comfort right? xx

        Liked by 3 people

  5. A really important post, Debby. Hearing advice like this from someone speaking from first-hand experience counts far more that the ‘regular’ advice we’re given in the press. Fingers crossed for the cardiology results. xx

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks so much Trish. That’s why I decided to share. It’s no myth, when we let ourselves go what can happen. We hear lots of advice on how to keep healthy, but not a lot of documentation on what can happen when we let go. I’m living proof, and very nerved out for the results. I’ll keep you posted. ❤ xx

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for sharing your personal story, Debbie. I hope your results come back showing that you don’t have any major heart issues. I’ve had to wear a holster a couple of times, so I know how that feels. I’m sorry for your loss, but I hear determined strength in your words and wish you well on your journey back to happiness and health. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  7. You’ve had a terrible year, and nobody can blame you for not taking care of yourself. However, now is the time for you to focus on some self care. Regarding Vitamin De, I learned quite a few years ago that most of us are deficient in it, and I was prescribed just the same dose as you were. However, these caused really bad palpitations and I had to stop them. Nowadays I use a spray recommended by Sally, but I use it every other day instead of every day. So far the palpitations haven’t returned. Look after yourself. xx

    Liked by 4 people

  8. For nurturing and compassionate people, self-care most often falls to the bottom of the list. I so relate to what you said about running on auto-pilot during the last days of your husband’s life. I did too. I was still trying to go to work every day and I paid a dear friend to sit with him while I left to go to work. Looking back, I can see that was necessary for my own mental health – to do something normal and not related to caring for him. Meals were non-existent and sleep only now and then. For a couple of years, after he passed away, I had what I could call a sleep disorder. I would awake all during the night to “check” on him. Eventually, that went away. It’s all a process. The phrase “Be Gentle With Yourself” is a daily mantra now. Thank you for sharing, Debby. Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • And thank you for sharing some of your own experience Jan. Good for you for distancing yourself when you needed a break, still going to work. I commend you. That took a lot of strength. Seems a general consensus with grief, we all ride the waves in our own individual ways, but the bottom line is still the same, it’s a tough and unpredictable journey for each of us. I just wanted my sharing here to alert others to the dangers of self neglect. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Self-care is often neglected when a dear one needs all our attention. Sleep eludes us and we accept it as normal because our focus is the care of our dear one, which is of utmost importance. I have been there Deb and can relate to your emotions. Big hugs! Wishing you good health and take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lovely post about self-care, my lovely. You are in my healing prayers and life gets so sharp when a loved one is seriously ill and close to the spirit world. It is no surprise that your body is talking to you now. My love is with you, always. The loving support in our community is special, as are you. ❤ Xxxx ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. My mother also had a terrible time during my Dad’s illness, and although I tried to help when I could, it was a lot of stress and pressure at her age, and she neglected herself. A year later she had a serious heart problem, and I am convinced it all came from that. She’s much better now, but you couldn’t be more right. We cannot help others if we get ill, and we need to look after ourselves as well if we want to carry on helping others. I hope you hear good news about your heart soon. Keep us posted and take care, dear Debby.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much Olga, for reading and sharing some of your own experience with what your mother went through. No doubts your mother and I endured the fallout from the strife of grief and self-neglect. I have had a load of tests and am awaiting the dreaded one late next week and will then have to wait til late October for the results. ❤ xx

      Liked by 1 person

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  15. You make important points about self care, Debby. It is hard to remember to use them when you need them in times of incredible stress and sadness. I hoping and praying you get good results and its nothing that can’t be resolved. Hugs xo

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’ve heard it many times: the caretaker went before the one they were taking care of. The stress and neglect does them in. At least that’s what I believe.

    My philosophy is I come first. I need to take care of myself first. It’s the only way to give the best care to those I give care to. If I am sick or dead, that person doesn’t get my care.

    Circumstances, such as your husband’s illness, doesn’t mix things up a bit. However, there is only so much a body can withstand before breaking down.

    All the best during this time and the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Nurturing-type people are especially vulnerable to neglecting aspects of self-care. I have learned to monitor myself, health-wise and above-all, limit my intake of news, which lately has been especially horrible.

    What’s true: I am in charge of how I live my life, with God’s almighty help, of course.

    Sending more healing hugs to you, Debby!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. An important post from Debby. I think many of us have times in our lives when we put aside our health and well being to be there for others. We turn on autopilot and plow onward, often with no regrets. But it does take a toll. I love Debby’s reminders that self-care can be as simple as getting enough sleep or eating something. When I forget about self-care, my body reminds me by getting sick. Thanks for sharing the valuable post, Sally.

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  21. When it rains, it pours, Debby! You were sure on a downward spiral with everything going on in your life and your attention needing to be fully with your husband, then the paperwork and legal stuff, then the move… Crazy amount of grief, chaos, and pressure. When we care, stress, and devote all our attention to someone else, it is normal to “forget” or not care about ourselves. I’m glad you are on the mend now and I eagerly await your heart diagnosis. Don’t keep us worried too long, please.

    As for a personal example, when my husband had cancer, I felt like I was in another world. All I wanted was for him to get better and nothing else mattered. Depression, a feeling of unfairness, and the sense that nobody else understands are part of the game.

    In a different situation, when the two of us crossed the Pacific Ocean in our sailboat, we were so uncomfortable that we turned into “zombies” on automatic pilot. We needed to survive and get through these days, so we made sure we ate, drank, and tried to rest. We couldn’t do anything else. We were exhausted and not thinking straight, yet we had to get through this episode.

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  22. Times of emotional stress can do a number on our health. I believe in resilency. We have the power to bounce back even, after intense heartbreak and grief.

    For me, I have seen my unexpressed emotions coming out as health concerns, throughout my life. This is a sign for me to do the inner work to heal within. I am glad you are on the road to self-care. I wish you abundant health and happiness.😘

    Many Blessings, Lisa

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