Looking after yourself

We all have the heart to want to help people through their difficulties, but have we ever thought about what it could be doing to our own health and well-being? 

Now is the time to stop, think, and look after yourself.

Looking after someone else, or even helping someone else – if this be a friend or family member, it could be draining on our own health – more so if you have a mental illness. There’s people that will start to become dependent on you, people that will want YOU to sort their life out for them, even though you may not have yours completely sussed, even though you’re struggling, even though you’ve given them every piece of information and advice you can.

It’s important to look after yourself. It may seem selfish and vain but in order to help others you’ve got to be in the right mental, emotional, and physical state to do so. When someone is going through difficulties it can mean that some of things they say and have done can be difficult to hear and respond to. This may also be putting you in a state where you’re unsure of what to reply, or even how to reply to them.

How can I look after myself?

  • Decide to make some changes by altering or eliminating what you feel is damaging you – this could mean stepping back and letting the people you help look after themselves also. There’s ALWAYS professionals that they can go and talk to if needed, and if you’ve done all you can then the rest is up to them.
  • Expressing your own emotions – don’t be afraid to get help yourself, it’s difficult when you’re constantly straddled to be helping others that you forget about yourself and your own health.
  • Sleep and rest – maybe you’ve been staying up late to help someone out of a crisis situation, or to give them comfort that things will be okay. Sleep and rest will help you feel better and more able to cope with what the next day throws at you, also there’s crisis lines if people reach that point. 
  • Exercising/Activities – exercising is a great way to feel better about ourselves, it releases endorphins  and you’ll feel more comfortable within yourself. Doing activities you enjoy could also make you feel more stable, and happier within yourself. 
  • Concentrate on the positive things – this is a great way to eliminate negative thoughts and feelings. If you’re going for a walk, focus on the smells around you (not always pleasant!) Focus on the breeze brushing past your face, focus on the birds that are singing, all this is a positive aspect to life.

Never feel like looking after yourself/making time for yourself is selfish. It’s necessary and vital to be able to lead a positive mental health and a healthy well-being. You’re just as important at the person you’re helping, and just as significant as them. 

Learn to make time for yourself, let the people you help know that you need to focus on yourself, that you need to step back and allow them to become more independent. You’ll be on your way to a much more positive lifestyle by doing this – keep in mind you can still help people, you don’t have to stop completely, just make sure you’re looking after yourself as well. 

 
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