For the majority of us, we want to be able to be everything for everyone that we love. This can cause us to put ourselves on the back burner and forget to "fill our cup". Doing so can lead to compassion fatigue and burn out. One of the ways that we can ensure that we are able to show up and be effective for those that we love and care about is to take care of ourselves first.
Clearly stated, the first step of taking care of our loved ones is by first taking care of ourselves. The messages we received from school systems, from our families of origins, and our work environments is that the group goal should be held as a priority over our own personal needs. This perpetuates a cycle of self-neglect, I'd argue that it is more about finding the balance of both our personal needs and the group needs.
The fact of the matter is, in order for us to be effective for those that we care about and in places of employment, our needs must be fulfilled. If we try to act without having our needs met we run the risk of being ineffective and unable to fulfilling our numerous roles and responsibilities. We see this message expressed through the precautionary discussion we have about oxygen masks on airplanes. Airline staff instruct flyers to secure your mask first before helping others in case there is loss of oxygen flow in the cabin. The reason for this is if we do not secure our mask first we run the risk of not being able to help ourselves nor anyone else. This same risk is present in our day-to-day life in terms of mental capacity and energy.
I want to share three steps to help us be our best selves which will then allow us to be the best we can be for those that we love and care about.
To create a healthy self care routine, fill our cup first and show up effectively for our loved ones we must:
Identify obstacles that are getting in the way of us filling our cup first. When some people hear the term self-care they think of massages, spa days, and being able to frolic the field of flowers. Self-care is so much more. Self-care can include taking deep breaths, Getting adequate sleep, eating nourishing meals, drinking water, and getting in some gentle movement. Most times caregivers or folks with limited resources and multiple responsibilities feel as though self care is something they cannot afford with not only money but time as well. As you see some of the techniques that I have mentioned cost no money and take little time out of your day. We recognize that the small shifts can create a lot of positive change if done consistently.
Unlearning the notion that making yourself a priority is selfish is necessary in the journey to fill our cup first. Self-care is necessary for self preservation. I invite you to take a moment and count how many people are currently depending on you in one way or another. Remind yourself of how important you are to every project you take part in. Recognize that your presence is needed and brings value to the spaces that you show up in. Allow this to guide you in affirming that your mental health and your well-being deserves to be a priority. Recognize that the return of investment in regards to your self care is great.
At the basic level of self-care there is a quick checklist we can use on a daily basis. Think of yourself as a house plant. There are a few basic daily needs that will help you flourish. These needs include sunlight, water, Fresh air, and Sustenance (food). At the bare minimum make sure these needs get met on a daily basis and Find appreciation for yourself as doing so will acknowledge that even in the midst of what may feel like chaos, you are showing up for everyone starting with yourself the best way you can.
Sending love & light.
To Watch Tiana Beard as a guest on Speak Up Sis Podcast discussing "It Starts with You" click here: https://youtu.be/vObP7pdqXNk