by Melissa Chichester
Every stressor in life hits your thoughts at the same time: I should have completed that work task; My mom is alone in the nursing home; I didn’t walk the dog; I didn’t do the laundry again; I don’t have time to bake 32 cupcakes for the entire second grade. All of these thoughts have one thing in common: They elevate the needs of others while putting your own needs on the back burner, with results that can be harmful to you.
Many people, especially women, put the care of others before their own needs. This may include caring for children, a spouse, a parent, or even pets. Professional caregivers such as doctors, nurses, teachers, veterinarians, and social workers may find themselves at an even greater risk, as their careers put them in the position of always attending to the needs of others.
I know what you’re thinking: that’s selfish. The same thought creeps into my head at times; however, I’ve learned that by being my healthiest, happiest self, I can dote on my loved ones with the attention they deserve.
Self-care isn’t a luxury. It is a necessity.
Impossible, you say? It isn’t easy at first, but the benefits may surprise you.
Are you saying “sign me up” yet? If you are, there’s more good news: you don’t have to smash up your piggy bank to practice self-care.
Some of my favorite self-care activities include running at my favorite park, reading a good book at the beach, going to the movies by myself, and crocheting. I crochet every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes.
Neglecting yourself can lead to unhappiness, feelings of resentment, and burnout. Don’t succumb to these dangers, but instead take a little bit of time to care about YOU.