Photo: Getty Images
Does it seem like you spend all of your time taking care of the needs of others? Maybe it’s feeding your family, doing laundry, or making runs to soccer and ballet practice, etc. Maybe it’s spending all day at a job to help support the family and then coming home to a boatload of work around the house. Maybe you’re caring for an aging parent or helping a friend convalesce. Whatever it is, it takes up all of your time and energy and guess whose needs get ignored? Yours!
I have a friend whose husband has advanced colon cancer and she has been busy taking him to his many medical appointments, chemotherapy, etc. and then tending to his needs at home. Then during the recent heavy rains in her area part of her home flooded including her special room where she could go for some “alone” time; now that room has been disassembled for carpet replacement and her stuff is all over the house. Insurance has been slow and she doesn’t know when her room will be back together. On top of that, her 12-year-old son has begun to show signs of distress and ADHD, so she has to deal with his school and arrange for counseling. Then there is her own job--which she can fortunately do at home--housework, etc.
I would say that her plate is pretty full, wouldn’t you? Guess who isn’t getting taken care of? She isn’t. She just doesn’t feel that she can take the time for herself because that is time away from the very people she needs to help. It’s quite a conflict for her.
I’ve been there myself (and often still am) when taking care of my wife during her four bouts with breast cancer. And the house. And the animals. And earning a living. I didn’t take time for myself because I just didn’t feel like I had the time to spare; besides, any time I took for myself would be time taken away from my other responsibilities.
What to do? Here are some important things to consider:
1. Awareness. You must recognize the importance of taking time for yourself and keep it top-of-mind. In spite of all of the pressure you eat, don’t you? (Probably not very well, but that’s another article).