If you have flown, then you probably recall the flight attendant demonstrating how to put on the air mask if it becomes necessary to wear one. There is one instruction they stress when giving this speech. Do you know what it is? Always put on your own mask before trying to assist anyone else.
By putting on your own air mask first, you make sure that you continue to get the oxygen you need to function. This allows you to make sure you can help other people. If you try to help someone else before putting on your own mask, there is the possibility that you will both end up in dire straits without enough oxygen to function or think well.
Self-care is just like this. People who are used to giving of themselves to care for others, such as moms, may feel guilty or feel that they are being selfish when they consider taking care of themselves rather than helping others. This is unfortunate. If a well is not recharged through rainwater, eventually it runs dry and there is no water to be had. The same is true of caregivers. You must take care of yourself and recharge yourself at some basic level, to insure that you are in shape to continue caring for those who are important to you. You take care of yourself at times so that you can continue to take care of the important people in your life.
It can be hard to know how to do this. What is self-care and what is really selfish? It can be hard to know what are fair boundaries or how to establish them so that you can implement self-care. One act of self-care may be seeing a counselor, whether it’s me or someone else. If your life is so demanding that you constantly put others first and stuff your own feelings, wants, and needs down to be ignored, a therapist can work with you to help you find the balance that allows you to care for yourself so you can care for others. It is possible to do both but sometimes it can help to have a fresh perspective.
Let me encourage you to do some small act of kindness for yourself today for the sake of self-care. That might be allowing yourself 5 minutes of alone time in a garden, listening to the sounds of nature. It might be admitting to yourself that the laundry can wait while you watch a TV show that you like but don’t get to watch often. Whatever you do for yourself doesn’t have to be big or cost much. But do find a way to be kind to yourself today.
If you are struggling with your life situation and unsure how to make changes or how to find room for self-care, I invite you to call me at (816) 226-4678. We will work together to identify actions that are true to your values that will make a difference in your life.