It can be a bit confusing to hear when riding on planes, that you are supposed to help yourself before helping others. We are always advised to put oxygen masks on ourselves before others. Why is this? You are not in a good position to help other people unless you are able to keep your head above water
This also ties into appreciating yourself and recognising your strengths. We sometimes put others above ourselves because we value others more than ourselves. This can be perceived as being good when looking from the outside in but is actually not very helpful. Caring for others from a position of strength is much better. Here’s why.
● YOU GIVE YOUR BEST SELF TO THE WORLD
By looking after your own physical and mental health, you are able to present the best version of yourself at all times. Whether this is to your family, coworkers, friends, acquaintances or anyone you encounter. Taking care to do things that makes you happier and makes you a better family member and friend to those who need it. Being happier makes you a better person to be around as you are more agreeable and can bring your best self to the table.
● YOU HAVE THE STRENGTH TO KEEP ON GOING
There are always tough times in life. Some we prepare for, like moving house, and others are unexpected, like having to replace a window broken by a child’s ball. If you don’t look after yourself, coping with these tough times will be even harder. And in turn, caring for those who depend on you will be more difficult since you’ll have so many other things to juggle. Sometimes this is inevitable, but when you make yourself a priority you’ll be best equipped to cope.
● YOU MAKE BETTER DECISIONS
If you’re not feeling your best, you won’t make the best decisions for yourself and for your family. Imagine you’re feeling flustered and overwhelmed with a home improvement project that needs finishing in the next month or so. You won’t be able to choose a tradesman with a clear head or compare quotes effectively enough to make a good decision. This is when you can run into problems.
What does this look like in practice? What does looking after yourself mean? Of course, this depends, but here are some general tips:
● Get enough sleep
● Eat vegetables and fruit every day
● Move your body regularly
● Take time for yourself
● Do things that make you happy
● Spend time in nature
● Read books
These are all generic things that we consider to fall under the category of “self-care”, but ultimately what that expression means depends on what it means for you! Take some time to write down the things that make you feel calm, fulfilled and happy. These are what you should focus on when you take care of yourself.
This is especially relevant for people who have dedicated their lives to caring for others. It’s incredibly fulfilling but important to remember that you, as the caregiver, have a responsibility towards yourself. Bring your full and best self to all of your interactions and you will get even more enjoyment out of your caregiving activities.
Do you take care of yourself? If so, what do you do? Did you find this blog post useful? Are there more ideas for looking after yourself that you could add to this list?
*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post
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