by Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE, CAPP
The world tells us that being selfless is to be commended, that putting everyone else first is trophy worthy.
I’m calling B.S. on that nonsense!
Failing to care for ourselves leads to physical, mental, spiritual and emotional fatigue. In an effort to care for everyone but ourselves we forgo sleep, fail to engage in physical exercise, eat an unhealthy diet, and have unmet emotional needs. All of which depletes us of the energy vital to our well-being.
So you see, how is prioritizing others over our own self-care a good thing?
If we want to care for our families, clients, students, or community we must first care for ourselves. Yes, just like the airline attendant instructs, we must administer oxygen to ourselves first or we lose the capacity to care for others.
And that is what self-care is, oxygen in an otherwise vacuum-like-airless environment.
Self-care is not an indulgence.
Self-care is not selfish.
Self-care does not mean you love anyone less.
What does self-care look like?
- Saying to your husband who’s recuperating at home after surgery, “I will fix your breakfast after I finish my ten-minute meditation.”
- Taking a walk and listening to your favorite podcast.
- Dancing to energizing music.
- Taking a bubble bath to soak up some needed alone time before engaging in an evening of conversation.
- Setting up a rotation of dinner preparation duties with your family.
- Hiring a babysitter so you can go on a hot date with your partner.
- Getting a massage to ease the build-up of tension in your neck and back.
- Practicing yoga even if you fall down when you do it imperfectly.
If you guessed that these are my go-to’s, you were right.
Do you want to explore your own self-care activities?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What brings me joy?
- There it is. Do that.
- What positively feeds my mind, body, and spirit?
Yep. Do that.
Self-care is not only good for your well-being but it’s good for the well-being of those with whom you interact.
Engaging in self-care activities gives you the essentials need to be healthy in mind, body, emotion, and spirit. From this healthy place you have much more to offer those you love.
So you see, being selfless is not helpful to anyone.
And rid ourselves of the language of, “Sure I’ll do that – and that – and that. All at the expense of my needs.”
Instead, let’s replace it with, “I love you so much that I am going to take great care of my body, mind, emotions, and spirit so that I can, in turn, give myself to you fully.”
Do you feel the shift inside that comes with reframing the language?
And let’s be real, who in their right mind would balk at you taking care of yourself so that you can give more to them? LOL
It’s all in the language we use, my friend.