In (way too!) many readings I meet individuals who are more focused on taking care of others than taking care of themselves. They invest so much of their time and resources, feeling a sense of commitment that is honorable and often so kind, but equally challenging. And… sometimes toxic.
So, when does “doing for others” become toxic? What are the signs? When do you know that it’s time to prioritize self-care?
When your physical health is declining. You would think this one would be super obvious, but honestly it isn’t. It isn’t uncommon for the decline to be subtle. You might feel tired, weak, edgy, more prone to pick up viruses, but it doesn’t stop you from serving others, it just slows you down.
When you have difficulty sleeping. Prioritizing the needs of others before yourself can lead to worrying, which leads to trouble sleeping. Absence of sleep erodes your ability to think and make choices that are in everyone’s best interest. (Yep, you are part of that equation!)
Difficulty concentrating. Constantly being “on” for others takes a lot of energy. Its easy to become single focused and go on “auto-pilot.” The more we live on “auto-pilot” the harder it gets to concentrate. Which once again, impacts our ability to make sound decisions.
When you find yourself overthinking. Good self-care includes giving yourself time to play, to relax, to stop thinking. When overly invested in the experiences of other people, the time to turn off your brain slips away while you anticipate needs and outcomes.
It’s no surprise that when we refuse to prioritize ourselves and our needs, we often end up in a situation where we are forced to. The universe has a way of settling-up things and putting life in balance, even when we refuse to. Why wait till this happens?
All the little memes you see telling you to make sure you get filled up so that you aren’t running on empty, may seem like platitudes – but they aren’t. Self-care is self-love. You are important. You matter.