As a family-oriented person, your loved ones are of utmost importance to you. You spend your days ensuring they are well taken care of. That's just what you do, and you’re happy doing it.
But is that commitment to your loved ones causing you to neglect yourself? How many times have you bypassed your own desires for someone else? This is the time to be honest with yourself. There is no judgment here. I’m sure everyone reading this post has the same answer. Are you constantly putting your needs on the back burner to take care of someone else’s needs?
It's completely admirable for you to want to take care of your family and friends. But it's important to balance that with self-care. You are just as important as your loved ones and I’m sure they would NOT like the idea of you running yourself into the ground just to make them happy. I understand you may have time constraints, young children at home, a demanding job. I get it. So many things to get done and never enough time to get it all done. I’m there with you but this year I have made a commitment to myself and I hope you will too. You may think it’s impossible, but it's really easier than it appears.
Here are some guidelines for balancing self-care with caring for loved ones:
- Be creative with quiet time. If you think inside the box, quiet time means time alone without distractions or responsibilities. If you think outside the box, you'll be able to paint a completely different picture.
- Instead of foregoing your spa day for babysitting duties, why not take your little one with you? Get mom and daughter manis and pedis. That way, you're taking care of your loved one and getting well-deserved pampering for yourself!
- Suggest that you and your significant other do movie night at home instead of at the movies. You'll get the best of both worlds. A favorite movie while cuddling with your loved one under warm and cozy blankets!
- Try scheduling your quiet time when everyone else is asleep or otherwise occupied. This is my favorite time to focus on me. I get up early and use the mornings to do what I want. So I am taken care of before I am completely exhausted at the end of the day after focusing on what everyone else needs. This time is great for meditation and journaling.
- Get the rest you need. By far, the best way to take care of your loved ones is to be fresh and rested. When you neglect your rest, you'll be irritable and impatient.
- Set aside time before bed to meditate, do yoga, journal. Anything that helps you wind down from the day and helps to clear your mind for a peaceful night’s sleep.
- Sometimes I choose to color, read a new book or re-read a favorite, or play a video game (I love Harvest Moon games) as a way to relax.
- Avoid feeling guilty about taking a break. There’s no reason to worry while you're absent. The world can manage to stay intact for a short time while you’re gone.
- Do you know that you can get some of that rest while having quiet time with your family? Cuddling on the couch with your children while they watch cartoons is a great option!
- Share your needs with your loved ones. The only way your family can understand your position is if you share it with them. Give them a chance to hear from you so your selflessness can be reciprocated.
- Once they're aware of your needs, you no longer have to worry about satisfying them on your own. With that scenario, you can comfortably focus on their needs while they focus on yours.
- Sharing your needs also lets your loved ones know how you feel and that your time for you is just as important as your time for them.
- This is also a great way to teach your children about the need for self-care and hopefully, it is a lesson that they can take with them as they grow up.
Remember, self-care is not only physical, you also have mental, emotional, and spiritual needs to take care of. There are several ways to take care of each, and the choice is completely yours.
It's easy to feel guilty for taking time for yourself, knowing that those special people need something from you. But have you ever stopped to consider what may happen if you're unable to be there? Not paying enough attention to yourself could result in you being ineffective as a support base.
If they're truly your loved ones, they’ll understand your needs. Communication is a two-way street. It makes a world of difference if you can learn to balance your own needs with those of your loved ones.
Self-care is literally what you do to take care of yourself. Self-care reinvigorates you. It prepares you to handle the stresses that come into your everyday life. Self-care is your right and your responsibility.