How to fall apart. Then piece back together.Apr 06, 2021
My life fell apart because of self care. Well actually, the lack of.
I’ve always valued being of service to others...
- I’m the oldest child, so there were younger siblings to help care for.
- I was raised Catholic and went to a Jesuit college, so service projects were a big part of my life.
- I grew up with a parent who was an alcoholic so I served in effort to keep the peace.
- As an adult, I became a social worker where service was my job, and I took it very seriously.
Helping and taking care of others fulfilled my need to matter and taught me to be selfless, but at a huge price. While I seized the opportunities to serve others in my life, I rarely considered myself. The result was that I suffered from chronic neck pain, digestive issues, and anxiety. Despite my service, I was unhappy and unfulfilled with my life.
Unfortunately, this is all too common.
If you’re good at taking care of others, if you enjoy being of service, if you identify as being a helper - it’s likely that you struggle to care for and make time for yourself, and to know what you want.
Years ago, my teacher told me:
If you want to continue doing this work, you must find a way to take care of yourself.
It seems obvious, but it isn’t. That message changed my life. It was exactly what I needed to hear in a moment of crisis.
And now, I pray that it will have the same impact on you.
Especially if you are in a helping profession.
Cut through your inner resistance, justifications and delays. Don’t wait til school ends, next month, or tomorrow. Don't wait for a bigger crisis to be the catalyst for you to make change. Bigger crisis means deeper hole, more money, and greater pain.
- Tune into and ask yourself, "What do I need or want?"
- Ask for what you need. Ask for help.
- Say no to the things you don't want to do.
- Take breaks and step away, especially when you don't have time.
- Engage in enjoyable, self soothing activities.
- Connect with yourself and your breath through meditation. If you’re not sure what to do, start with the One Simple Breath.
The bottom line: self care creates energy, passion, knowledge, love, and trust in yourself so that you can stop falling apart and instead be the force that you dream to be.