This post is for everyone who spends their days worrying about and taking care of other people.
For moms, dads, doctors, teachers, health care professionals, and everyone else who’s life revolves around the well being of other people. This, today, is for you.
And my question to you is this:
When was the last time you thought about the most important piece: yourself?
We’ve all heard the saying a million times — “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. And my oh my, how that is true. But truth also lies in the fact that despite knowing that, many of us continue to try, day in and day out. You give — you give to your family, to your patients, to your students, to everyone but yourself. And much in the way of surviving on low oxygen — it’s certainly doable, but for a finite amount of time.
If you haven’t reached it yet, there will come a point where you just can’t give anymore. Your body, your mind, your spirit just can’t give anymore without some sacrifice. This may come in the form of you getting sick, or it may come in the form of over eating, under eating, trouble sleeping, increased irritability, decreased patience, and the list goes on and on. There is only so long that you can ignore yourself before your foundation begins to crack.
And once those cracks begin to show, they can build and build upon one another, eventually leading you to a point where it is so much harder to patch it all up again. This is why you need to take some time to focus on you right now, before life gets in the way even more. Patch up the little cracks, make your foundation strong again so that you can start building upward, meeting new healthy living goals and seeing positive progress.
So how? What are some action steps that you can take to take care of you? The answer lies in what your goals are, what you want to achieve in terms of your health and wellness. Do you want to lose weight? Gain strength? Gain energy? Start by figuring out what you want to change, and then we can begin to get into the how.
The first thing that I have all of my clients do is to start a wellness journal — whether this is old fashioned paper and pen, or a continuous note on your phone, it’s important to take time to reflect before making any kind of habit change. Think about what motivates you, think about what about your life you would like to see improved, and then you can begin to think about small steps you can take to get there.
Goals without a motivating factor are just words on a page. When you have a “why”, you are able to see beyond the daily challenges and keep working on positive progress. When you know why you are working towards certain changes, challenges and set backs become a little bit less daunting. So think about you. Think about your “why” and what you would like to change about your life and yourself (if anything at all).
Think about you. Fill your own cup. Apply your oxygen mask first. You have permission to take time for yourself to refill your cup. You have permission to truly take time for yourself, not use your solo time to run errands for your family. Even if it’s 10 minutes per day, you deserve your own space, your own thoughts, and your own goals. Whether you want to work on your fitness, your nutrition, or you just want some quiet time, know that you’re not hurting anyone by doing that for yourself. In fact, you are helping. By taking the time to fill your cup, you are renewing your energy stores for your family and giving yourself the opportunity to present a more energetic and peaceful you to those around you. And don’t they deserve this version of you too?
You are only able to give your best to others if you also give your best to yourself. If you are run down, exhausted, and stretched to your limits, the version of yourself that you give to others is not whole. You’re giving them the pieces that are left, not the whole incredible package. By focusing on yourself (even for just 10 minutes per day!) you can provide so much more to those around you. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, it is necessary.
So what can you do for “you” time? It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive for you to gain benefits from a little self pampering. Here are just a few ideas to get you started: