Everyone tells you — you have to take care of yourself first. They like to use the old “Put on your oxygen mask first before you help others” analogy.
I am assuming someone without kids thought of that. Because self-sacrifice — to the point of Death is what parents do Every. Single. Day. And do not think twice about it. Especially moms.
To be clear, I am not here to trash dads. Truly. My son-in-law is Father-of-the-year over and over again. As was his father. Excellent men. I’m just saying though — when he gets sick as he did last week, he went to bed. When my daughter gets sick — she will take a nap in between everything else she normally does. Including taking care of whatever grandchild of mine might also be sick.
Self-care is a chip shot if you are only responsible for taking care of yourself.
My ability to deepen my yoga and meditation practice grew exponentially when I started living alone.
My ability to take care of myself when I had a panic attack, a virus, an asthma attack grew exponentially when I started living alone.
My ability to balance my finances and delegate resources for self-care grew exponentially when I started living alone.
My name was at the top of the list because suddenly my list only held one name. That is what it took for me to finally be the priority in my life.
For some of us — that is the only way we will finally see ourselves as worthy of the love and care we lavish on everyone else in our lives. The trickiest part of self-care is sorting out how to fit it in when you are also caring for a lot of other Humans.
Every. Single. Day.
We all know — theoretically — it’s important for our health — mental, physical & spiritual. But it’s hard. Because in reality — we are the ones who can hold our breath the longest. We know how to most efficiently get those oxygen masks on everyone else in our world. It’s second nature to make sure everyone else is breathing easy before we reach for our mask.
I’m not going to chastise anyone for putting their needs at the bottom of the list, for taking care of everyone else instead of themselves. The last thing someone needs who is struggling to find time for self-care is to feel guilty about not finding time for self-care. Because that’s a trap as well.
Every day we can begin again. Every hour, every minute — we can begin again. In fact, it’s the only way to live. Set All. The. Things. down. and simply begin again. With kindness and gentleness and love. Towards everyone in our world and most especially ourselves.
Because that is an exercise in self- care we always have time for.
The very first step.
Find kindness, employ gentleness, show love — to yourself.
And you will have begun your self-care journey.