The phrase “self-care” is thrown around a lot these days. “Take a relaxing bath! Take out some quiet time. Meditate.” If you’re like me, one of the first thoughts that come up when you hear such advice is, “But I have so much to do! Dinner needs to be made, laundry turned over, someone has to make sure the kid does her homework and packs her lunch, and my partner is working late.” I. HEAR. YOU. Just managing a family and a household, whether you do that primarily or in some partnership with your significant other, is a lot. In this article, I’m going to tell you why taking care of yourself is more valuable than you might think.
Your well being affects your partner and your children
When you’ve committed to a partnership and/or parenthood, your life and well-being becomes important not only to you, but to your partner and family as well. When you look deep inside and you feel that you have a need, not a want, but a true need, for something that supports your well-being, what do you do with that information? Do you honor it? Or do you stuff it, or put it at the bottom of your long to-do list?
Follow this choice through for a second. Let’s say, for example, you really feel you need a nap. You’ve been up early and to bed late for a week or two, and you’re truly tired. You ignore this need, like you usually do, and push through your day. Maybe then you find that you have some issue with your spouse or child and end up in a frivolous argument? Or maybe you end up falling sick a few days later, and then have to spend days knocked down by an illness? At the very least, you probably find your performance at work the next day is lacking, because you’re still so tired.
You need to take a break from time to time
I know it doesn’t feel good to fall behind or let things fall through the cracks, but if you zoom out for a second and consider the impact of your well-being, the results may be significant. Your health, mental, spiritual, and physical, is an essential part of the happy life you are aiming to create with all your hard work. Taking the brief break you need in the short term may prevent difficulties for you and those you love down the line.
In addition, a strong commitment to self-care in a relationship will be a great asset in the face of almost any challenge in your marriage or family. Should a couple face an unexpected personal loss or injury, an unexpected financial challenge, or a sudden job loss, for instance, each partner having the knowledge and ability to take care of him- or herself effectively will absolutely help your marriage during such an unexpected storm. The more in touch you are with your needs and the stronger your ability to care for them, the more stable you will be through the times of challenge.
Maybe you’ve heard the analogy to airplane oxygen masks? You must put your own mask on first before you help others. If you can’t breathe, what good are you to anyone else? Tending to yourself is tending to those you love.