A car cannot run on empty. The same principle applies to people. If you were preparing for an adventure to an unknown destination, you would want to start with a full tank of gas. For those fortunate to have electric cars, you would want to start out your adventure fully charged. But how do we do this?
We’ve all heard it before, self-care, self-care, self-care. What is it and why is it so important? Self-care, simply defined, is our ability to care for our body, mind, and soul. So, what makes it so easy to say and so hard to do? Some people may say self-care is selfish, or that they would do it if they just had more time, or for a multitude of other reasons are able to justify allowing themselves to run on empty. Our society almost applauds how much people can do in less and less time, and yet more and more of those people find themselves in doctors’ offices, counselling offices, or the ER, looking for solutions to ailments of all kinds in hopes of a quick fix.
Do we consider the result of such self- neglect? Are we paying attention to the early warning signs of potential compassion fatigue (burnout) or depression? Have you ever considered the fact there is an indisputable correlation between our mental and physical health, and further, that there is a correlation between how we take care of ourselves and how capable we are of taking care of others?
We can’t give what we do not have. In the same way, ignoring our basic needs can cost us, and we run the risk of becoming overwhelmed, exhausted, and resentful.
So how do we safeguard against these risk factors and build on protective factors? It has been said that charity starts at home. Therefore, giving to others begins with giving to yourself, which is an act of love. Find ways to fill yourself up and keep on re-charging.