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The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself When Caring for Others

taking-care-of-yourselfIt’s easy to slip up on taking care of yourself when you’re caring for others while in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Helping other people is the best way to get outside of yourself and can allow you to be more compassionate of others, but if you aren’t taking care of yourself to begin with, then you certainly can’t be of service to anyone else.

Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

You have mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  If these needs are not being met, you may have noticed that you are feeling “off”. This “off” feeling is a warning sign that you might not be taking care of yourself the way you should be.  If a loved one becomes ill or needs to be cared for regularly, some people may neglect their own needs and find themselves feeling drained and overwhelmed.  Recognizing this as unhealthy is important so that you can be aware of not slipping into the behaviors.  This means that despite what troubles may be going on with your loved one, you still need to be putting in the effort to take care of your needs as well.  You don’t want to get sick yourself, or worse, relapse if you are in recovery from addiction.

Finding Balance between Caring for Others and Time with Self

Balance is essential for your recovery and for life in general.  Too much of anything can be hazardous to your health.  This proves to be true when it comes to caring for others, too, because you can easily burn yourself out rather quickly.  You should make it a point to make time for yourself.  Set designated days that are specific to be free for you to do anything of your own choosing.  Whether these days allow you time to stay at home to relax or go out to do something just for you, you need to be putting in the effort to spend time on you or you will end up resenting yourself for not giving yourself breathing space.  Serving others is excellent, but when there is a lacking of self-nurturing tendencies, there is a lack of self-love and that can easily transcend into negative thoughts of one’s self.  Not to mention, if you are feeling off mentally and emotionally, you are bound to throw yourself off physically and certainly spiritually.

Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental and emotional health.  A simple walk or brief run can go a long way.  These actions could easily be implemented into your morning or evening routine.  You may notice a reduction of stress and relief from anxiety over time, which will also go to show just how taking care of yourself benefits you.  When you are properly taken care of, you will be more able to be present and help others in the long run.

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