Happy Friday readers! I don’t even clock into a paid job and I STILL look forward to Fridays every single week – crazy right? LOL Today I want to talk about something that is super important – SELF CARE. There is a lot of talk about self love and that is really important as well but I think people forget to talk about Self Care. If you have someone that takes care of you – you are very lucky and sometimes you absolutely CAN NOT care for yourself. Do not feel guilty if you are one of those people. If you are not – read on.
Disclaimer: If you are new to this blog I am not a Phd, an MD, LCSW, counselor or psychotherapist. I’m just me – 53 year old woman who has managed to survive parental abandonment, an abusive parent, date rape, racism, sexism, suicidal thoughts and depression. I am not amazing and my words should not be taken as gospel. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned and I would love to hear YOUR stories so please share if it will help you.
Now then, what I have learned is that Self Care is absolutely crucial for you and for the people who you love. I’m not here to tell you what KINDS of self care you should use. Google and you will find more than you ever want to read. Each person will have their own set of luggage to unpack and just because walking, music and meditation helps me it does not mean it will help you.
What I want to stress today is that saying no and helping others help themselves is an important part of self care. Much like you have to practice self care and self love for yourself, sometimes you have to insist to people you care about that they do it too. If you are caring for someone or a lot of someones you have to remember that you are not an endless source of energy. YOU can run out of steam. YOU can give too much. YOU need to insist that the people you care for have a big stake in their wellness. It’s not fun to do and it is not easy but it is a matter of survival.
If you are a Mother of course you can not ask that of your itty bitty babies – they can’t do anything but look absolutely adorable so no one eats them. OMG I love babies – they are so pure and so ethereal! Sorry, there must have been at least one egg left in my ovaries to get that reaction all of a sudden. Hahahahahahaha. When kids become older, though you can start to insist on them participating in some self care so they can stand on their own. I remind my daughters the benefit of daily exercise, plenty of sleep, lots of water, occasional Yoga, journaling, art, music, etc. Right now they think all these things are chores but I know soon, when they leave the nest they will become tools in their “tool box”.
If you are a spouse or a long time partner it is absolutely in your best interest to insist that the one you love and care for participate in his/her/their self care. This is hard. Sometimes it will appear as if you don’t care or you are tired of helping them but by insisting you ARE helping them help themselves. If they have a mental illness there are many things they can do for themselves. They can clean up after themselves, they can help with chores when they are not too depressed and they can follow a to do list if they are manic or feeling euphoric.
My point is that you can not do everything for them. No matter how much you love them, you have to insist that they do things for themselves in addition to your assistance. Otherwise, you will spend all your energy and will not be able to help anyone including yourself. If your loved ones are not capable of taking care of YOU, be sure to find someone in your life that can step in. If you have a sister, a best friend or even someone in the neighborhood, have someone you can ask for help so you are not neglected.