Taking Care of Yourself While also Prioritizing Others
A client recently asked the question, “How do I balance doing what I need to do for me while also prioritizing other people?” Can you relate? Such a good question!
You'd probably agree that loving and serving others is one of the MOST important parts of life. But sometimes it can feel conflicting when those priorities start to crowd out some of your own self-care, which is also so important. If we want to live a fulfilling and meaningful life, we have to somehow navigate how to let both co-exist.
Juggling the two might look something like this....
-Knowing you needed a day at home to catch up on tasks and then being asked to do a favor for a friend
-Setting aside time to exercise and then feeling like cleaning up the house for your family would be more beneficial
-Looking at your to-do list for a committee you're on and knowing it won't get done if you go to bed at a decent time
These are just a few examples, but if you can relate then you’re…human.
So how can you find balance between tending to your own needs while also loving and serving the people you've been blessed to do life with?
One of the answers resides in turning to your core values.
If I were to ask you, "What matters most to you in life?" or "What are a few words to sum up how you want to experience life?" What would you say?
Your values might include family, loving others, honoring God, feeling at peace, joy, freedom, being trustworthy, etc.
Once you have your core values in your back pocket, you've found a roadmap to guide you. Here's how....
When you're faced to choose between self-care and serving someone else, ask yourself, "What are my core values?"
Here's an example of how it might play out....You were planning on finally having some down time tonight, and then your friend asks you to watch her son. Both seem super important and you don't want to disappoint her but you also know you'll be a much better version of yourself if you get some rest. So you remind yourself that your core values are living a life of peace and loving others. Is there a way that you don't have to sacrifice either of those values in this situation? Maybe you decline for tonight, but offer to watch her child sometime the following week. You're able to love her well while also cultivating the inner peace that is important to you.
Obviously it's not always as clean cut as that example, but tuning into what matters most to you is a really helpful place to begin.
So next time you feel pulled between prioritizing yourself and prioritizing others, ask yourself what aligns most with your core values in this situation. There are definitely times when you just follow your gut because your intuition tells you what's right, but often it’s possible to let loving others and taking care of yourself co-exist if you pause, reflect, and get creative.
Living a life guided by your core values will allow you to live more in line with your unique calling in this world and impact the people around you. Sometimes someone will get the short end of the stick (sometimes it might be you), but that's ok too, because life and love isn't black and white, and we just have to do our best to let it all belong without completely leaving ourselves or those around us out to dry. You have the capacity to make room for them AND you rather than them OR you.
When you're constantly spreading yourself thin in order to not disappoint anyone, your ability to be fully present gets thinner too, and you start to lose the wholeness of yourself that this world really needs.
If you remember your core values and let your intuition guide you, you'll know when to take a step back and check in with what your heart is needing, whether that's an evening alone or a girls night out, or you're filled up enough to be able to lighten someone else's load for the day.
Here’s to loving well. Here's to taking care of others and allowing others to also take care of you. Here's to filling up when you need some self-care, and to bearing other's burdens when you have enough strength to go around. Here's to treasuring all of the precious humans who you get to spend your days with, because they're what make life so beautiful!