I’m going to upset some people in this post, but that’s okay. I’m here to talk about self care and the importance of putting yourself first in a world that is constantly trying to convince you otherwise.
Have you heard the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup?” Yeah, me too. I’m tired of seeing it on Pinterest. Probably because I’m guilty of ignoring that advice from time to time, just like you might be.
What they’re really saying is, “you cannot give to this world, or the ones you love, if you aren’t taking care of yourself first.” You’ve also heard this when the flight attendant on the plane tells you to put your mask on first before helping others. That’s another phrase I get tired of people telling me. But it’s so true. And it’s necessary.
As a school counselor by day, I see some pretty difficult things in my school: neglect, abuse, poverty, homelessness, bullying…the list goes on and on. I’m not the perfect counselor and I know I cannot solve every problem, but the most important thing I can do for my kids is to consistently show up with love, energy, and drive to help them conquer their problems while advocating for them as a trusted adult in their lives.
I cannot do this unless my personal needs are met first. I just can’t. I cannot radiate positivity if I have not been working out regularly. I cannot advocate for students if I am not advocating for myself in my personal life. I cannot think critically and help solve problems if I am not sleeping or eating enough. Self care is survival.
I may be able to sustain during extenuating circumstances in the short term, but that is no way to live and my kids are not getting the version of me they deserve. I know this because I’ve tried.
I have tried to be a martyr and pour all of myself into all my jobs without filling my own cup first. I have convinced myself (and still have to fight these thoughts!) that I am not doing enough if I am not suffering somehow because my kids deserve everything I have to give. Does this sound familiar?
This thought process is archaic and flawed. It leads to burnout and resentment and is not sustainable for any human. We have basic needs. And you deserve to have those needs met just as much as your own children do, or as much as your spouse, or as much as your boss.
I am not a parent so I cannot speak to having children, but I am someone’s daughter and the best gift my parents could have given me was to let me watch them be happy and do things they loved.
Now, I challenge you to think about who could benefit from the best version of you. What is your WHY?
Is it your children? Do they want an angry, resentful parent who never went after their goals? Likely not.
Is it your spouse? Do they deserve someone cynical and bitter because they don’t have the “time” to workout?
Is it YOU? Are you tired of living in a brain that makes excuses, or hides behind the needs of others instead of having their own met?
In my next blog post I’ll share a few simple tips for practicing self care. When I say simple, I mean it. Self care does not have to mean a weekend yoga retreat in Bali.
These will be approachable and simple strategies that continue to work for me, even in the busiest of times.
My hope is to convince you to join me in a balanced version of self care that fits into your day to day. It might be the most important decision of your life!