Folks, if you want to be there for anyone, at any point, anywhere, ever, listen up. It’s your first job to take care of yourself. On flights, the flight attendant tells you to put your own mask on, then help the people next to you. You know why? Because you can’t help someone if you’re passed out in their lap. Clear enough?
Before you can commit to being there for another person, you’ve got to be ready for that. You have to be at your own center, or at least stable. You can’t be someone’s knight-in-shining-armor if your horse is dead, and your armor is rusted off. If you get to that point, you’re doing little more than being followed by a man named Patsy clapping coconuts behind you as you run.
There is no “trick” to knowing whether you’re taking care of yourself, but there are some things you can watch for.
- Weight gain/loss
- Loss of interest in things you enjoy
- Unfounded anger or resentment
- Trouble remembering things
- Unusual anxiety or depression symptoms
- Physical pain
These are all personal experience, folks. Don’t use my list to diagnose yourself with anything. Just check yourself out sometimes. If these flags (even just one) are flying, then consider bringing it in for a day or two. Nobody can always be there for everyone else. You have needs too, and that’s great! It means you are human, just like everyone else.
Some tips for taking care of yourself, in case you need ideas:
- Affirmations – Even just saying “I’m a worthy person” can help.
- An evening off – Just step back. The world isn’t going to end if you go to bed early or watch some Doctor Who.
- Prayer/meditation – Relax, dude. Seriously.
- Exercise – Even a walk around the block can improve your health.
- Conversation – You don’t have to go to therapy, just talk with someone who isn’t fighting a battle at present.
- Read a book – Or a magazine, or whatever.
- YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, TV – Lose yourself in something fun.
I also like the hot tub, and massages. Whatever lets you take the edge off in a healthy way, and/or helps you step away from helping everyone else, just for a day.
I’m here, you’re here, we’re all here. And we aren’t going anywhere. If you feel like you can’t take a break, count to twenty llamas with me:
1 llama 2 llama 3 llama 4 llama 5 llama 6 llama 7 llama 8 llama 9 llama 10 llama 11 llama 12 llama 13 llama 14 llama 15 llama 16 llama 17 llama 18 llama 19 llama 20 llama
See? It probably took me a lot longer to type that than it took you to read it. A small investment, but a worthy one. It’s okay to be you. It’s okay to take care of yourself. It’s better for everyone if you help yourself a little, than to push yourself to the breaking point, and need someone else’s help, no? Food for thought.