Are you worn out from taking care of everybody except yourself? Are you the “go-to” person (the one everybody else goes to) on your job, or with your family and friends when they have a problem or something important needs to get done? Are you the people-pleaser who says “yes” when you really want to say “no” because you don’t want other people to be upset?
If any of this sounds like you, you could be putting your health at risk! These are all forms of Self-Neglect, and Self-Neglect is linked to many types of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain and diabetes.
You’re someone who cares and loves other people. The problem is, to be a truly caring person you have to “put on your own oxygen mask first.” You must embrace the critical importance of Self-Care.
Self-Care starts with baby steps, making small changes that have a big impact over time with faith and persistence. If you’ve spent your whole life putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own, it isn’t going to change overnight. When I coach people or conduct a workshop, I help them review their lives and take a good hard look at where they’ve been, where they are and where they want to go. Together we design a plan of action to gradually build on existing strengths and discard old behaviors that are no longer in their best interest. In this way, they begin to move in a healthier direction. The first and most important step in the plan is for them to change their attitude — letting go of the idea that Self-Care is selfish. It isn’t.
It’s easier said than done to make that change. You have demands at home, in your community and on your job. There are people in your life who need you. But unless you start making your own health a priority, you won’t be able to be there for them.
Self-Care is so important. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.