“You are worth the quiet moment. You are worth the deeper breath. You are worth the time it takes to slow down, be still, and rest.”
Self-care has recently become such a popular topic and I’ve recently embraced it full force these past couple years. We are asked, in a spiritual point of view, to love our neighbors, to love our parents. But, do we love ourselves? Do we love ourselves as passionately as we love those around us?
I’ve watched close loved ones literally love their loved ones to death. They give and give till they are empty themselves with nothing left to give anymore. Their other loved ones who need it the most have been put to the wayside. They are an empty shell and have lost their true purpose and spark who made them who they once were in the first place.
One of my favorite analogies is the oxygen mask on the airplane. When an airplane experiences distress in an emergency, oxygen masks pop out from the ceiling to assist breathing. We are instructed to place the mask over ourselves before helping our loved ones. In life, if we can’t take care of ourselves first, we will not be able to help the people next to us.
“Self-care is giving the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you.”
If we do not take the time to fill our cups, we will have nothing to pour out.
One of the main things people struggle with giving so much, is that there are no boundaries set with the people around them. They want to help so much that they forget that they need help too. Here are ways to set boundaries in your own life:
- Name your limits—You can’t set boundaries if you don’t know what you stand for. What do you tolerate and accept? What makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed? That will help list your limits.
- Tune into your feelings—There are two feelings that come from letting go of boundaries (discomfort and resentment). When someone makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s a cue that they’re violating a boundary. When someone is imposing their expectations on us, we will feel guilty and resentment sets in.
- Be direct—Be direct with how you want to be treated, what makes you tic, and what you won’t stand for. You’ll know the toxic relationship by who takes these things personally.
- Give yourself permission—Boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship; it’s a sign of self-respect.
- Make self-care a priority—put yourself first for a change. It’s recognizing the importance of your feelings and wellbeing.
Putting yourself first gives you the energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be there for them. When we’re in a better place, we can be a better wife, mother, husband, co-worker or friend.
“You owe yourself the love that you freely give to other people.”
In my second book, The Love We Found, my main character wants to help someone with a life-threatening illness, only to get herself in trouble too. This concept is called “Save the Savior”. If we put ourselves in danger by helping someone, we are no use to anyone. We actually cause more damage in the process.
I whole heartedly agree with helping and loving others. But sometimes we get so caught up in other people’s needs, that we forget our own. Why do we get caught up in other’s needs? Because of guilt and shame? Grief? Sincere selflessness? To impress? When will you put your needs first? Do you know how to put your needs first?
Everyone deserves self-care, self-respect and self-reliance. You owe yourself that. You are a person with passions, dreams, hobbies, personality, diversity, quirks and gifts. You deserve to harness and spend time crafting those things just as much as you push your loved ones to do.
The term self-care has been around for centuries. But it’s just come to terms with younger generations for whatever reason. Self-care can look different for different people. Self-care is defined: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
I have anxiety. I’ve always had it. I think it stemmed from my parent’s divorce from an early age. I never did anything about it till my second daughter came along. With the help of medication, my anxiety doesn’t control me anymore, even though I still struggle. And the help of self-care has even put me at lower dosage of meds. How does one practice self-care?
Here are some things that I do:
- Workout for 30 minutes every day
- Less screen time (television and phone)
- Taking a long, hot shower
- Going on dates with my husband
- Going to bed at the same time every night (10pm)
- Eating well (and indulging too)
- Drinking plenty of water
With these things, I’ve noticed that I’m happier, I’m living more in the moment, I am invested in my children and husband, I am overall a better person not being acted upon.
Again, self-care is different for everyone. What works for me might not work for you. It also doesn’t have to be doing something. Lying in bed and meditating in the quiet will be enough!
And I also want to point out that SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH. It’s important. It’s integral.
I can’t help but to believe that we were put here on this earth to just be idle. We should be giving our loved ones and ourselves the best version we can be. Don’t get so lost in others that you lose yourself. Everyone deserves to be taken care of—including YOU!
“It’s important to do what’s best for you, whether people approve of it or not. This is your life. You know what’s good for you and remember, self-love takes strength.”
Morgan Flores is the author of young adult books including The Love We Lost and upcoming release sequel, The Love We Found. You can follow her on Instagram @morganized_living for all updates on minimalism, self-care, organization and book updates!