Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Who's taking care of you?
One of the things I hear constantly, especially from women, is that they can't take the time to exercise, eat right or take care of themselves in general because they're too busy taking care of everyone else. Children, aging parents, needy spouses or demanding jobs always take precedence over personal needs, because as women we are supposed to be everything to everyone and if we're not, we're somehow failures. Here's the problem with this. If we take care of everyone else all the time and never get our own needs met, we are setting ourselves up for total system failure. Whether physically, mentally or emotionally, something eventually gives, no matter how strong we are. At that point, we're in no position to care for anyone else until our own lives are rebalanced. Even if you manage to give yourself enough self-care not to break down but still constantly short yourself on needs like sleep, proper nutrition and exercise, you'll never be at your best. If you're not at your best, then what you have to offer is reduced. We can take the best care of out obligations and the people in our lives when we are at our healthiest and happiest. Thus, it is ESSENTIAL that we make the time to care for ourselves. That might mean learning to say no to some obligations. It may mean asking for help sometimes. It may mean admitting that we can't be everything to everyone. At the same time, it will mean being the best versions of ourselves that we can be, making the relationships and tasks we choose to spend our time and energy on are much better than if we weren't somewhat selective. So if you want to improve your relationships, job, parenting or whatever and have been neglecting yourself to make it work, try shifting your focus and meeting some of your own needs for once. This will almost always improve everything else in your life along the way.