A Caring Person's Guide to Being Kind to Themselves Too
The news seems to be cluttered with darkness and negativity lately, leading dinner table conversations to never remain light. Many people react by keeping their heads down, trying to avoid facing the reality that is spinning around them. A select few, however, take these times to utilize their love for generosity. These are the people who, like myself, often give themselves away to helping others, and sometimes forget to acknowledge when they are the ones who need time to heal. It is important to be supportive for your neighbors, but also make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. Below are just a few points to be remembered when you’re finding yourself in a whirlwind of playing world healer.
Incorporate your passion into your giving
I’m big on making crafts and care packages and basically everything that fills my Pinterest feed for people. Whether they’re feeling under the weather and need a pick me up or I’m just in a gift-giving kick, I always try to come in tune with my love for crafts and DIYing in order to not only make gifts with personal meanings, but to also not drain my bank account.
Don’t let yourself become a doormat
We are taught to always offer help to those who are in need, and to always be around for our friends. There comes a point, however, when many of us suddenly begin to dedicate our lives to helping our friends more than helping ourselves, and we ignore the fact that it is only hurting us. I will be the first to admit that I have let myself been walked all over time and time again, and even though it was an awfully painful confrontation, I addressed the situation. When your door is constantly open, others don’t realize that you haven’t had time to yourself in what seems like forever.
Guilt for saying no does not exist
I know. You’re probably saying, “Yes it does!!! You’re crazy!!!,” and a year ago, I would’ve been standing right at your side, shaking my hand in my face too. Everyone always told me that senior year was the year that everything begins changing fast, before you even realize it’s changing at all. I was trying to shove as many nights out with friends as I could while also picking up every work shift that was open and soon enough, I found myself not having any free time for weeks in the future. As the new year changed over in January, I made one resolution, and it was to make sure that I was doing everything in order to improve my life in the end. I’m a chronic people pleaser, but I learned to say no to last minute dinner plans when all I really wanted to do was catch up on Grey’s Anatomy. I felt like I was missing out when I would see posts about the adventures taken, but I knew that the refreshed feeling I got from the nap taken would have never been achieved had I not put myself first.
Don’t stretch yourself thin
It’s so easy to want to want to jump onto every service project you can, and to do every favor that everyone asks of you when you know that the end result will leave you feeling like you made a difference. When it quickly turns into a cycle of jumping from place to place without a break, and slowly turns into a job instead of a hobby, take a step back and evaluate where you actually want to dedicate yourself. I personally stayed with an organization that I was passionate about in the beginning, but when I realized that it was taking away from the time I had to help a friend of mine, and that I no longer felt the thrill of helping out that I once did, I decided to temporarily resign from my position there. There is no need to break ties and cause fires when you are overwhelmed, as you can always pick a hobby or organization back up once you’re ready. If you’re finding yourself being thrown around without truly feeling your heart in anything you’re doing, though, be sure to evaluate and rewrite your plans.
Remember that in the end, you’re doing your best
All we can ever do is try. Try to help our community. Try to help our friends when they are down. Try to fix the world. When we can only do so much, every effort is worth a thousand words of gratitude. We may not be able to take away the darkness that someone is experiencing, but even the reminder to them of knowing that you’re around for them means so much. It is difficult to walk away from a situation when you don’t see ultimate results of your aid, but believe me when I say that every piece from your heart that you put in has helped. Whether you’ve been able to sit with a friend for days on end and help her through a rough time, or if you’ve only been available to send a donation to a local charity, your help is loved. You’re appreciated, and life will not let your ongoing spread of love go unnoticed.