It’s no secret, I love helping people. I’m often the friend that people turn to when they need a shoulder to cry on or some advice. A lot of times, I was known as “the advice giver” and I love being that person! It explains why my number one trait when I took the Clifton StrengthFinders Assessment was Developer. I see the potential for improvement in people (not in a cocky kind of way, but in an “I want to help you” way) and it’s hard for me to fight the urge to let them talk to me and give them advice.
Lately, I’ve been carrying a lot of other people’s burdens. There’s been a lot going on for family and friends and I want to be there for them with all that I have and help. I’m realizing though, that I can’t sacrifice my own mental state to help someone else because that just doesn’t work. All of this came up when I remembered something my mom said to me recently:
“Everyone always comes to you with their stuff, but who do you take your stuff to?”
Mom wisdom coming through. She wasn’t wrong in saying that & definitely shook me up a little. Of course, because I wanted to maintain my put-together “I’m fine” self I said, “I have people that I talk to.” Which, isn’t completely a lie. I do tell my best friend most of what I’m going through, but I definitely don’t share everything. It’s super hard for me to open up to people and let down my guard. This isn’t because I don’t trust people, it’s because I’m afraid if I do then people won’t want my help anymore because I won’t seem as strong. I now realize this isn’t the best logic and I shouldn’t let it be a guiding force in how I live my life.
This is particularly important to remember in the current season of life that I am in. I’ve had a lot going on with my dad having multiple foot surgeries and working way out of town so I hardly ever see him, starting Junior year and taking on fifteen credit hours of classes, and learning how to balance everything with working 29 hours a week (I’m used to only working around 20 hours during the school year), and trying to maintain whatever social life I can grab on to while making sure I stay in touch with my friends and family. It’s definitely a busy season, and I’m not at all complaining about it because I often thrive in busyness.
However, I do need to take a step back every now and then and evaluate my own well being. I tend to forget to eat or get enough sleep because I want to just keep on doing all the things I have to do, but that’s not healthy. Plus, while all these things are going on I need to make sure I’m aware of my mental health. I’ve been really anxious lately worrying about school and all of the issues people around me seem to be facing and I’ve kept that to myself. It’s starting to become apparent though by my constant lip biting or picking of every scrap of the blue polish that I had on my nails last week that I need to take a minute to relax. I actually became a bit of a moody monster last week due to it all, so sorry to anyone that I may have sassed or heard me belting songs from my “rainy day vibes” playlist. Special thank you to the person who called me out on it so I could learn to watch it and realize my sass wasn’t helping anyone (although sometimes my sass can be really funny).
All this to say, make sure you don’t forget to care for yourself while caring for others. It’s not selfish, even though that anxious voice in your head might try to tell you otherwise. You can’t fully be there for other people if you’re not at your best and you drive yourself to a breaking point. Have a “you day” where you do some of your favorite things to chill you out. Here are some of my favorites if you need some inspiration:
- Take a walk around Target. There are so many cute things to look at! Just make sure you have some money with you because you’ll more than likely end up spending more than you intended on home decor or clothes.
- Drive around with no particular destination and sing some of your favorite songs.
- Have a long talk with a friend. I know many of us Millenials don’t remember that phones weren’t made just for texting, but sometimes it’s soothing to hear someone’s actual voice.
- If you don’t feel like talking to another person, talk to your pets! They’ll never interrupt or judge you and are great listeners.
- Plan something. I’ve been adding so much stuff to my Halloween & Christmas boards on Pinterest. I’ll probably only ever execute one or two of them, but it’s nice to think about. One day I’ll embody my true Pinterest self.
- Lay on the ground and stare at the sky. It’s really quite mesmerizing to just watch the world go by. Just don’t stare directly at the sun!
- Binge watch something on Netflix, Hulu, or whatever entertainment provider you prefer. It will provide some much needed chill time.
- Stretch your body through yoga or do some dancing. Whatever type of exercise you like to do, do it. If your body feels happy then you’ll feel happier.
- Eat your favorite food. Everything is fine in moderation, so have that one slice of pizza!
- Read a devotional or inspiring book. A little heart help goes a long way.
I could go on forever (thanks to my love of lists) but I’ll stop here for now. Hopefully, some of these can help those of you like me who often forget that it’s just as important to care for yourself as it is to care for those around you. It makes a world of difference!
Peace & blessings,