We have all heard the “put your oxygen mask on before trying to help others” speech but how often do we do it? Self-care is necessary if we want to help others and we need to be serious about it.
Someone once told me to think about my physical, emotional, and spiritual energy as different tanks. Being in relationships with other people drains the tanks and it is up to us to fill them back up. We tend to fill the physical tank because we have to. Eventually, we get tired and have to rest. Or we may injure ourselves if we are being neglectful of our physical tank and then we are forced to rest.
We all know the symptoms of drained emotional tanks. We get cranky and oversensitive. A drained spiritual tank can lead to depression. We start wondering what is life about? We may experience a loss of meaning.
Julia Cameron recommends something called the Artist’s Date. This is a date with yourself where you go somewhere fun that will fill your tank. It could be a hike, a trip to the yarn store, a nice lunch, time to read a book, anything that gives you joy.
I try to do something for each tank. I get a pedicure to fill my physical energy tank, I go browsing at a yarn store or book store for my emotional tank, and I attend worship, pray, or listen to sacred music to fill my spiritual tank. I have found what works for me through the years. I am reminded that I should at least treat myself as well as I treat my best friend. My best friend looks in on me to see how I’m doing and I need her to take care of herself so she can be there for me just like I need to take care of myself so I can be there for her.
Why is it so hard to prioritize ourselves? We each have to answer that question. The bottom line is: just do it. Learn to enjoy filling the tanks!