I lose count of the number of people (especially women) who use the words “take care” automatically when signing off an email or note. It’s become an almost meaningless cliché.

But we need to start to really mean it when we say it, for our own sakes. Because we simply aren’t taking enough care at the moment –not of our friends and family members, but of ourselves.

Many people seeking help from hypnotherapists and counsellors want to lose weight, or stop smoking or deal with anxiety-related issues.  They see these problems as individual and specific issues that they are suffering from and that they want to get rid of. lonely-273629_1280

However, the cause of many of these problems is that we aren’t taking care of ourselves, in the sense that we aren’t caring properly for our physical bodies and our minds.

I said to a (very stressed client) just recently: “Would you let your car run out of fuel, never replace the oil, and overload it with heavy weights?”  No, of course not. But that’s what we’re doing to ourselves.

People experience different results from hypnotherapy, as with all therapies, and some clearly derive more benefit than others. But hopefully all of them will exit a course of therapy understanding that they need to care for themselves better in the future. They will also have some techniques and strategies that help them to do this. Because many of them haven’t been looking after themselves  properly for quite a long time.

A recent analysis by Cancer Research concluded that cancer rates will increase nearly six times faster in women than in men over the next 20 years, with obesity al least partly to blame. Other factors are smoking, drinking and lack of exercise.  So why are women increasingly more at risk?

I suspect one reason is that women themselves are often the care-givers – they care for their partners, their children, their elderly parents and perhaps their neighbours too. Sometimes they are providing emotional support for colleagues or even working as volunteers.  This inevitably takes its toll, and the person giving the care may be the one neglecting to care for herself.

Caring for ourselves is crucial. If we are strong, healthy and resilient, we have a better quality of life and we also are better at looking after others.

So if you’re one of those people who sign off by saying “take care”, how about focusing on yourself for a change?