It’s so important to make time for self care. We all know this – that it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. But making time for self care can be really hard to do. Especially for full time caregivers, taking time to care for your own needs can seem nearly impossible in the face of everything else that needs to be done.
But it’s also absolutely necessary. I know that the “put your own oxygen mask on first” analogy is SO overused, but it’s true – unless you care well for yourself, you are NOT going to be able to care well for the people you love the most.
I’ve found that just one decision helps me make time for self care.
I have to choose to take care of my own needs, before taking care of other people’s wants.
Especially for parents, it is SO easy to get caught up in answering all of the demands, and not taking care of your own NEEDS. It’s my job to make sure my kids have a safe, healthy, and loving environment to learn and grow in. But it’s not my job to make sure they never experience a moment of boredom or a twinge of hunger.
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I’ve had to learn to say no to the WANTS of my children, until I have my own NEEDS taken care of.
This might mean that they have to wait for a snack until I’m done with my workout, or play by themselves (safely) while I have some quiet time. The same applies to my spouse, and to other key people in my life. Taking care of needs before wants is essential to regular self care.
It can be hard to know what your needs are.
This is especially true when you’re overwhelmed. Basic physical needs are a great place to start. I know I’m not the only one who forgets to drink water… or use the bathroom! Stop and check in with your body — are you hungry? Tired? Tense with stress? Making sure these basic needs are met first will help rule out any other issues.
Emotional needs are important too. If you’re an introvert, alone time will help you recharge. If you’re an extrovert, a few minutes on the phone catching up with a friend might be just what you need. Just like with your physical body, checking in with your emotional self is super important.
The truth is, YOU need to be taken care of, in order to take care of others well.
Take a moment to shake of the guilt that says that everyone else’s wants and needs are more important than your own. They’re not! When your own needs are met, you’ll be a better spouse, friend, parent, employee, entrepreneur, and person. You’ll love better and have a better quality of life.
Do you struggle with guilt for taking care of yourself? What is your biggest challenge in this area? Any tips you can share? Please share in the comments!
Jamie writes about living intentionally and finding beauty and perspective in the adventures of everyday life. When she’s not writing, she’s living her own adventures – working full time at an ER registration desk, parenting two spicy girls, and collaborating with her husband on the remodel of a former one-room schoolhouse on their homestead in rural Wisconsin.