Even writing this title made me initially feel kind of selfish, because somewhere along the line, we’ve been taught to take care of others first, and ourselves second. But lately, I’ve been learning that this is a recipe for disaster. Because as much as you might want to make sure every little thing is perfect for everyone else, the fact is, it will never be close to great if you’re exhausted, resentful, and unrealistic about how much you can take on.
It’s exactly like you hear in every single airplane spiel you’re forced to endure before taking off: in the case of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first; help others around you second. Here are 3 reasons why practicing self-care is not only necessary, it’s critical:
If You Don’t, You’ll Burn Out
Sure, you may attend every PAC meeting out there, make homemade scones for breakfast every morning, and throw the best dinner parties on your block. But have you meditated lately? Or just sat and consciously breathed for a few minutes? Or attended a yoga class?
Running around and making everyone else’s life easy and breezy may be fun, and you might enjoy the praise, but you will burn out. Make sure to take the time to get proper rest, eat nutritious meals, and do a little soul searching once in a while.
If you don’t, you’ll feel it sooner or later.
Good Mental Health is the Foundation of a Good Life
No one can improve this but you—you need to make a specific, conscious decision to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Everyone strives for physical health, but what about mental health? Mental health is more important, because if you do encounter a physical health problem down the road, good mental health allows you to maintain a positive attitude and make good decisions for yourself.
To make sure you stay on the path to good mental health, practice it daily. Write in a journal every night. Be thankful. Show others that you’re grateful for their love and support. Attend yoga classes regularly, and do other forms of exercise, too.
Working out definitely lends to increased physical health, but even more important, it helps to strengthen your mind.
You Teach Your Children and Partner to Respect Themselves
When other people see you make the consistent and conscious decision to take care of yourself first, they will naturally want to do the same. Show your family that meditation is a worthy practice. Cook great, healthy food and eat it regularly. Teach your children how to close their eyes and breathe in deeply to help calm themselves, or even just to feel better.
It’s so important that we practice what we preach around our families; it’s the only way to ensure that good self-care habits are routinely part of our family life. The last thing we want to do is teach our kids how to be stressed out or grow up needing to be viewed as perfect. So don’t! Instead, show the people around you (the ones you actually love and care about) that you value self-care.