On the journey to self-care, one must understand a few things. You only have one life, do you really think spending it overlooking your needs is the best way to live it?
Looking after others and helping them is an honourable thing to do, but forgetting you are somebody too and you need some help as well is where a lot of people get lost. You may think, ‘but life is hard for everyone, all of this is part of life’ however, there are differences between not taking care of ourselves and going through hardships.
Here’s an example: I dedicated myself to my job fully, I took on everything that was thrown at me and I even went to work with an injury just so I could ‘help’ people and there wouldn’t have to be major changes and my workplace could still function the same way. In any other profession, you wouldn’t be expected to go to work in those circumstances but I did because I knew that was the expectation.
So, I worked hard and pulled through the pain and discomfort up until the point when I broke down and I couldn’t function anymore. At no point was I given the impression that I needed to take it easier than I was or that there was someone to talk to or that I was simply doing a good job so I didn’t have to overdo it by coming in injured.
That’s when I realised that I hit rock bottom and all the people that I was trying to hold together weren’t there for me to even ask what they could do to help me or to say sorry that I was in this situation which they had caused.
There is a point to this story and that is that I understood then that if I don’t take care of myself no one will. No one will notice if I’m struggling because some don’t want to and it’s up to me to notice my pain and struggles. It’s up to me to act upon them.
We only get one body, one soul, and one mind and we NEED to take care of them because we can’t return them when they’re broken, we have to put the pieces back together ourselves.
That’s why self-care is so important because it helps you avoid breaking down, it teaches you to understand your body and its limits but it also connects you more to yourself which you need, to be able to recognise the signs of struggling.
Self-care isn’t selfish, don’t let anybody tell you that. You can’t help people by pouring from an empty cup. Look after yourself so that you can help others too, but always know your limits and how much you can take.