Are You Taking Care of Yourself?
You Don't Have To Lose Your Identity Caring For Others
It’s difficult to care for others unless you are taking care of yourself first.
We dive into this topic in depth in the newest episode in my “Saving My Faith” conversation series—exploring what it means to thrive and prosper…in spite of your circumstances. Listen here or wherever you catch your podcasts!
An important part of my healing journey has been to learn what is self-care. “Just take care of yourself!” I hear the realists declare in my head. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? That’s why it is so baffling to me, that something so simple (and important sounding!) has been so easy to neglect.
Perhaps it’s because I’m an Enneagram 3, or because I was raised that being a good Christian means putting the needs of others before my own, but somehow, on the list of people to take care of, my name was very far down the list.
I have found such great joy in helping other people that it’s difficult to comprehend the great degree to which I was neglecting my own needs.
Can you relate?
I understand that many people don’t have the luxury of focusing on their own needs, as their focus has to be on caring for someone else. I’m sorry. That is so difficult. But even a person in that position needs to take care of themselves or else they will be unable to care for the other person.
What is Self-Care?
How To Take Care of Your/My Self:
Identify your needs. Some days I have no idea how to answer the question, “what do I need today.” But as I keep trying to answer, over time I become more aware what I need: time alone, time connecting with others, a good meal, a nap, a walk, journaling time, etc.
Consider how you’ve been getting your identity from helping others. I can’t get my primary identity from what I do for others, or what other people think about me, even if they think I’m the greatest person ever. My primary identity has to come from the fact that God loves me and calls me Beloved.
Think about all aspects of your health—physical, mental, spiritual, and relational—and make a list of a few things you’d like to do to improve your “health” in some of these areas.
The better we take care of ourselves, the more equipped we will be to care for others. And we will be drawing from a full well, rather than asking people to fill us up with their appreciation for what we do for them.
"Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch."
-Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak (thanks James Earley for posting this on FB)