Do you have a lot of people depending on you? Do you feel pulled in so many different directions that you might explode? Are your own needs typically an afterthought, and do you often find yourself addressing your needs later than you should, or not at all?
I realize the world isn’t going to save itself, and that everyone in your life needs you desperately (and RIGHT NOW), but hear me out on this one because I speak from experience. IF YOU DON’T TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, YOU WILL COMPROMISE YOUR ABILITY TO HELP ANYONE ELSE. Not to mention that the wonderful life you want for everybody else is the same one you should want for yourself.
When you treat yourself with love, compassion, and respect, you set an example for those around you to learn from and follow. Making yourself a priority also teaches others how to treat you. Those of us who are parents should make special note of this, because if you are always a “martyr” you condition your kids to either 1) behave the same way, or 2) expect others close to them in adulthood to sacrifice for them the way you have. Neither one of these paths is designed to turn out well. We should set positive examples for our kids of how they should treat themselves and function in relationships.
Your service to others does not have to be at your own expense. On occasion, we all make some sacrifices for our loved ones. However, if self-sacrifice is your way of life and becomes harmful to your mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual well-being, it is time to make adjustments.
Some of you are probably thinking, “but what if they get upset with me or the changes ruin our relationship?” If caring for yourself jeopardizes some of your relationships, then they probably weren’t worth keeping anyway. Besides, some people might not react well at first, but if there is any substance to the relationships they will eventually come around.
Take care of YOU! God has a purpose for your life, and it can only be achieved if you are around to make it happen. Need examples? Here are a few:
- Get regular physicals/check-ups.
- Take time to read, meditate, and/or pray.
- Have some fun! Revisit things you love but haven’t done in a while or try something new.
- Take the day off BY YOURSELF to relax, unwind, and recharge.
- Do something to care for your body or physical appearance. (haircut/hairdo, massage, mani/pedi, hot tub, exercise, etc.)
- Make a list of things that would give you peace or energize you, then schedule time to do some of them each week.
Try these and you will be even better equipped to serve others and impact the world!