Take Care of Yourself First

You can’t keep pouring energy into your family if your physical and spiritual well is empty.

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Posted in , Mar 21, 2018

The importance of making time for yourself

My season of busy travel has begun, and I’ve spent the day on planes heading from North Carolina to Hollywood. I fly a good bit so I’ve heard the safety instructions countless times. I could probably do most of them in my sleep, but today, something stood out at me—something important. 

The flight attendant gave his spiel about the oxygen masks and then he ended, “Take care of yourself first, and then help someone else.” It’s a wise instruction for passengers but it’s also something we’d be smart to pay attention to when it comes to our lives.

Most of us do just the opposite. We take care of our families and others, wearing ourselves down physically, emotionally and spiritually—and yet we often don’t do anything to take care of us.

Moms and dads, are your parenting batteries worn down? Are you snapping at your children out of weariness and frustration? Does it seem like you can’t get everything done no matter how hard you work or how many hours of sleep you miss? Take it from a mom who’s now past those days: You can’t do everything. You really can’t. And most of the time, the impatience with our children comes because we’re exhausted.

When’s the last time you took care of you? It seems a bit strange at first to add this to an already packed day, but you can’t keep pouring energy into your family if your personal well is empty.

We make doctor’s appointments. We set up a time to get the car serviced. Why not make an appointment for you? Rest for 20 minutes. Go for a walk. Do something that brings you joy. Stop and enjoy the life that is zooming by. I think you’ll discover what I have—that those moments of self-care stolen from my day actually enable me to do more, because I’m more rested and refreshed.

And don’t forget your emotional and spiritual well-being. An emotionally drained person can’t help someone else. And we can’t pour into the lives of others spiritually if we haven’t refilled our spiritual wells. Maybe it’s time for us to do what God says in Mark 6:31, “Come ye apart and rest awhile.”

The instructions for the oxygen masks on the plane of “take care of yourself first” makes perfect sense—because if you pass out and aren’t able to take care of your loved ones, who will? The same is true for all of us in our everyday lives, we need to take care of us first—and then we’ll be able to take care of others. 

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