I’m the kind of person who, up until a few months ago, would say yes to every request that came my way. Yes, of course I can drive you to the airport. Sure, I’ll help you move your stuff into your new apartment. Okay, I can do that for you. No problem, I’ll be there around 3. And while its a wonderful thing to be helpful, it can become too much at times. When you start sacrificing your time and effort for others, its easy to forget about your own needs.
I volunteered to move a friend a few months back. It was supposed to take 2-3 hours, so I drove over after work and started helping out. I didn’t pick up anything to eat, because I thought it would finished by dinner time. It ended up taking 6 hours, I didn’t get home til nearly 11 pm, and the only thing I had to eat was an apple. Needless to say, I had compromised myself, in order to help a friend. Am I happy that I was able to help her? Of course. But in retrospect, I could have taken better care of myself at the same time by eating before going over, and taking small breaks.
I wrote a post a while back about struggling to say no. I’m still working on it, and its getting better. I can now refuse invitations without feeling horribly guilty. I still get twinges of guilt, but knowing that its okay to say no, has helped immensely.
And if people think I’m selfish for needing alone time, even after I’ve explained it, then so be it. Its so important to take time for yourself. If I don’t give myself the space I need, I won’t be able to recharge and feel better. Don’t feel guilty for needing alone time. Take time to treat yourself to a new book, or something good to eat. I’ve had to learn that if I’m feeling overwhelmed, the best thing to do is refuse invitations to social events. One, because I wouldn’t enjoy it, and two, because I wouldn’t be able to contribute anything to it. Respect yourself and your boundaries, and others will respect you for knowing your limitations. Of course, we still need to be social at times. But if we take extra time for ourselves when we need it, we can contribute far more when we do go out.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It took me 25 years to learn this and I hope that others can learn this more quickly than I did 🙂
How do you take care of yourself?