No matter how many times we are told to take care of ourselves, most of us could still probably up our self-care game. And while we can all come up with several excuses about why we don’t, I’m not sure we realize how much more (and better) we could give if we took time to rest and rejuvenate our mind, body, and soul.
It occurred to me the other day how we have become willing to sacrifice quality for quantity in many different areas of our lives. Unfortunately, giving and serving aren’t exempt from this misuse of our time and energy. Many of us run around stressed and harried in our attempts to help others. We’re being pulled in all directions, and when there isn’t an apparent need, we make up busy work to fill the time. We’ve been doing it for so long that it feels normal.
The reality is, when we begin and end our day in a deficit of self-nurturing time and attention, we can’t effectively serve others on a deep level. It’s like we’re offering the speed and convenience of fast food over a carefully prepared, healthy meal that nourishes the body and soul. As a society, we can easily see what a diet of fast food does to us physically. How does this approach translate when it comes to serving others? When we give to others from an empty tank, we’re not giving our best. If we’re not full, we can’t be fully present. If we haven’t filled ourselves with joy, it’s difficult to truly enjoy being with others.
Relationships which have become dependent on this structure create a sense of lack for both participants. The giver is already lacking because they haven’t taken care of themselves, and the receiver isn’t getting the best care they could. There’s often a lack of boundaries as well, when this becomes the norm.
To live your best life, it’s extremely important to figure out what brings you joy, and what fills you up. Then do those things as early in your day as you can, before you begin serving others, family included. In order to offer your best to others, you must be at your best, and that just doesn’t happen when you’re running on empty.
It doesn’t have to take a long time, sometimes our spirit just needs the tiniest of recognitions to recharge. Like a small stream trickling into a raging river, then eventually spilling over a waterfall, your spirit can multiply whatever time you can spare. But asking the best of who you are to go weeks, months, or even years, without nurturing and support is too much to ask.
The best way you can serve others is to give from your overflow. My mornings begin with 5-10 minutes of drumming, then 20 minutes of guided meditation. Depending on what else I have going on, that may be followed by yoga, dancing, or singing, wherever I’m feeling led.
It’s time to figure out what you need to be filled up and do those things as regularly as you can. Then offer your full heart to those you love. They deserve your best, and you deserve to feel your best.