Self Care: The Gateway to Caring for Others
Do you love to take care of other people?
I sure do. If you've ever read the book Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you know that "Acts of Service" is a real way to show love to others. And, it's one of my favorite ways to show love to anyone and everyone. I have the heart to serve those around me, as well as strangers. Serving Harvey Victims face-to-face was one of the most humbling and memorable experiences of my life; with so much devastation all around, reaching out to care for other humans was the very least I could do. (And still am.)
We have to be careful, though.
For those of us who live to serve, neglecting our own self-care is a real thing. If we're SO consumed with serving others from whatever place they are in, we tend to neglect our own needs. Now, please hear what I'm saying... maintaining a posture of selflessness and service is great; putting ourselves aside for the sake of others... it's what we should do. However, if we aren't careful, we can drag ourselves down to the point where we physically, mentally and spiritually are incapable of caring for others like we want to.
So, how do we fix this?
Self-care is like any other habitual process in your life. You have to make time for it and you have to be intentional about it. Make yourself a list of top-level priorities that need to occur for you to feel rested and equipped to care for others in or outside your own family. Here are some examples to start:
- Eat right. This may require accountability, but you can do it! It's essential that you have great eating and hydration habits in order to stay focused and push forward.
- Quiet time. This may look different for each of you, but taking 15-30 minutes each day can make a big difference in the course of your day. You may choose to write in a journal; pray; practice yoga; take a walk, or meditate. Regardless, taking this mental breather is important to clear adequate headspace for yourself and others.
- Workout . If you're used to working out and let your fitness time slip, get back into it! You don't have to hit the gym for three hours a day (ain't nobody got time for that), but you can take 20-40 minutes several times a week to get those endorphins going and treat your body well. You deserve it!
- Special Treats. Do you enjoy morning coffee? Doing an occasional face mask or mani/pedi? How about reading a good book or taking a bath with your favorite bath salts? You can and *should* be doing these things. These little acts of self-care make a big difference in how you feel and your ability to serve others.
One last thought
You can't care for others unless you are taking care of yourself. Don't forget to love yourself while you're busy loving everyone else.