I know, I know, that’s not the way that saying technically goes, but for today’s purpose, it does. Are you a healer, teacher, counselor, social worker, or any of the myriad of jobs or personal lifestyles that fit into those categories?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you work as a nurse or a counselor (though many do), but perhaps you constantly find yourself in that role with family and friends. Maybe you are the only person you feel has the ability to hold your family together, keep your friends sane. You might simply love doing all that you can to help others. (You know who you are!)
While it would be nice if there were even more of it the world, there still are a lot of people who feel this way; feel compelled to help, nurture and heal. You might do so to the point where you drop into bed exhausted, sometimes late at night, only to get a few hours of sleep and start again in the morning. You might wear yourself out physically, mentally and emotionally.
Now, if you think of yourself as an engine – not very romantic or spiritual sounding, I know, but hey, whatever works! If you’re a lovely, shining engine of healing, helping and nurturing, but you don’t take the time to make sure this engine has fuel, is properly oiled and maintained, and isn’t constantly running day in and day out without stopping, there comes a time when that engine burns out.
If you allow yourself to burn out, run yourself ragged, and don’t take care of your own needs, there comes a point where you are no good to anyone. If you are exhausted and emotionally frayed, the quality of what you can give to others deteriorates. The more frayed you get, the more you tend to take on and feel personally the struggles of those you are helping, and then cycle of wearing yourself down continues.
There is probably no type of person more needed, yet more underappreciated in the world, and that includes underappreciating themselves. If your engine is only running at half power, you’re only giving about half the quality and care to others, your light dims. Take the time to take care of yourself; if not for your own sake, then for the sake of those you take care of.
Treat yourself to a little pampering and relaxation. Get a massage, take a trip to the hair salon, or get a mani-pedi. Spend a day at the beach. Soak in a hot bath. Take yourself on a date (alone) to your favorite café, library or bookstore. Go for a walk in the forest. Go to bed early once in a while. Take some “Me Time”; perhaps even turn off that cell phone for 20 minutes while you read, walk or have a nice cup of coffee.
Don’t forget, if you need your own physical, mental or emotional help or healing, allow yourself that. Ask for help. You can only give what you allow yourself to take.
The quality of time and care that you give yourself will only improve that which you give to those you care for. Taking care of your own physical, mental and spiritual well being, or “engine” will help you keep your light burning brightly for years to come.