Welcome fellow counselor “Kris” to the Caring Counselor blog. Check out her take on putting yourself first rather than last like many of us do.
Why are we, as humans, so programmed to put ourselves last? I have been working since I was 14 years old, and in those 12 years, I have never called out of work, wherever my place employment may be at that time. My mother instilled this work ethic into me, basically stating it was a mode of survival. When I was sick with mono, I was at work. Hours prior to my father’s passing, I was at work. The day I closed on my house, I almost missed signing the paperwork due to being at work. All of this, for a job(s) that would replace me without a blink of the eye if they saw fit.
I work in a helping field, where my career is to put others first and advocate for others’ rights. It wasn’t until 3 years into the field where I finally felt myself getting burnt out that I realized something needed to change. Sometimes, self-care isn’t bath bombs and candles; it could be something as simple as saying “no” to something you don’t want to do, putting the phone down while eating dinner, going to bed an hour early. You can’t pour from an empty cup, you need to take care of yourself first. For me, I decided to start a health and fitness routine; I believe mental health and physical health go hand in hand. By spending 30 minutes a day to do some form of physical activity, raised my endorphins enough to be able to cook dinner at night for my husband and me, something I wasn’t able to do when I drained all my energy at work.
It is OKAY to take care of yourself; self-care is NOT selfish. Take that mental health day, sis, because by prioritizing myself I have been better able to serve the youth and families I work with in my therapeutic practice. I worked long and hard to get to this mindset, and now I want to preach it to you: be your OWN damn advocate and remember that self-care is an investment, not an expense.
XO – Kris