The brain is a complex, powerful, and integral part of human beings.
But, often, it does something that I think is SO backwards and SO opposite what evolution would tell us to do.
What am I talking about??
Sacrificing care for the self in order to care for loved ones.
Let me explain….
We can all relate to this in one form or another. You may have a spouse, kids, aging parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, friends, etc. that you care for deeply… and, in turn, need your time, attention and energy.
You may spend your weekends shuttling your kids around to soccer, dance, gymnastics, piano, and more.
You may spend your evenings and other free time taking care of an aging parent or a sibling who needs an extra hand.
You may even be a full-time caretaker and supporter of your spouse, kids, animals, home, and more!
I, myself, do a lot of caretaking… I am the primary caretaker of our son, Chase, who just turned 2. I take care of our 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and our cat…. I co-own and operate a business… and I have a wife whom I support in her cycling endeavours.
I get it: it’s a LOT for a person to have on their plate.
And when that plate gets too full, unfortunately, the first thing to go is self-care.
Things like exercise, healthy nutrition choices, sleep, hydration and more all get tossed out the window in the name of making more time for caring for those we love.
BUT THIS DECISION DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!
All we need to do is take a look at a mother (human or animal) with her newborn baby.
The mother’s primary job and focus is to take care of her baby.
HOWEVER, if she herself does not eat and stay healthy, she will not be able to produce the very sustenance that her newborn needs to survive.
So in some ways, she MUST take care of herself, if for no other reason than as a way to care for her child.
If you’ve ever been on an airplane and listened to the safety announcements before takeoff, you’ll hear the flight attendant say that in the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead bin…. And to be sure to put a mask on yourself before assisting others.
This is a very simple and easy to comprehend example of what I’m talking about.
You cannot be a good caretaker to those you love if you let your own health/wellness decline.
You cannot provide them with the best care possible if you cannot extend that simple grace upon yourself.
Don’t let guilt trick you into thinking you must sacrifice your own care for others.
Instead work hard to create a reality where both are possible.
You and those you care for will all be better off for it.