Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind. ~ Dodinsky

And so it began:

Monday morning: Hit the ringing alarm. Prepare breakfast for the household. Pack lunches. Play chauffeur. Arrive at the job to begin the 10-hour workday. Run errands. Volunteer. Cook dinner from scratch. Clean up. Collapse. Hit the ringing alarm and begin the routine again.

Sound familiar? I had devoted the last few years of my young life to taking care of others: my then mate, other people’s kids, extended family members. Everyone else was well-rested, eating well, and looking great, but at my expense. My brain was fried, I was mentally exhausted, and I had even slacked on my appearance. (Gasp!!!)

As women, I believe it is ingrained in our DNA to take care of everyone around us. We overextend ourselves to make sure that we are the ideal partner/daughter/sister/mother/friend/employee, but often at the expense of our mental, physical, and yes, spiritual health. As the person who was always sacrificing for others, I thought that I was doing the right thing by always putting my needs last. Well, sometimes the universe hurdles events your way that force you to pay attention or change your course. Luckily, I received a jolt that brought me back to myself again. After years of giving 110% to everyone else, I was forced to reallocate some of that precious energy back to the source: Me.

I have reclaimed my life and the exuberance that has come with this rejuvenation. I wake up refreshed, have unbridled energy and the men I encounter claim that I look half my age (hmmmm….). I vow never to lose myself again.

Do you find yourself in the endless cycle of taking care of others without nurturing yourself? Here are some tips to remember to always take care of your most important natural resource: You.

  • Engage in rituals: I meditate each and every day, and I can’t emphasize enough how taking a few minutes each morning or evening forces my body to rest and places my mind at ease. Whether you read, pray or listen to calming music, be sure to schedule quiet time for yourself every day. You deserve it.
  • Splurge once in a while: Spoil yourself! Treat yourself at least once a month to a manicure, facial, massage or some other spa treatment. Let someone else take care of you for a change.
  • Connect with your circle: In the chaos of everyday life, it’s easy to lose touch with friends and family. Have an engaging brunch with your girlfriends or go to the park with an older relative. Taking time to connect with family and friends will renew your spirit and keep your balanced.

Here’s to finding yourself again…and enjoying the journey!

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8 Comments

  1. I couldn’t have said it better myself! This year I decided to start taking care of ME. I was run ragged, worn out, stretched too thin, and just plain exhausted. I was overweight, unhappy with myself, and I couldn’t stand to look myself in the mirror anymore because I didn’t even recognize myself. I have been a mom since I was 18, I’ve been married twice, I now have five beautiful children, and I can’t remember the last time I took care of ME. Sure, I’d treated myself to a few nice things over the years, but nothing substantial and certainly nothing long-term. I had decided that it was time to take back my life, to take care of ME, to learn who I am again; after all, it’s been so long that I don’t know who the real ME is anymore. So far, I have committed to going to the gym at least 5-6 days a week. I have already lost 17 lbs. And I was told twice tonight that I look like I’m my two oldest daughters sister (they are 13 and 14 :-) ) and I feel AMAZING! I also changed nearly my entire wardrobe out for better clothes, and I have committed to keeping my wardrobe up so that I’m not wearing worn out clothes that don’t fit me anymore. I have also purchased a motorcycle and am enjoying riding (yes, there’s an economic piece to that as well). I find that because I am taking care of ME I have more energy to help others out and when I do help them I do it much more willingly and with a bigger heart than before.

  2. Great article, totally agree. I found myself in it and I need to find the road back to me, I will look for the book, reading your article made my date, thanks :)

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