Monday, May 26, 2008

Take Care of Yourself, First

When I spend time coaching my divorcing clients, I find that one of the most common characteristics they share is their inability to see the wisdom of taking care of their own needs, first.

So many times in life, we tend to take care of others, instead of ourselves. It's any easy trap to fall into, and we are certainly socialized to abhor "selfishness" in all its manifestations.

But taking care of yourself is the most self-LESS thing you can do. Why? Because you cannot take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself first. The problem is that even when we realize this, we can still lapse into a place in life where we don't implement it.

This recently happened to me. I was caught up in the minutiae of everyday life, I was under some high-pressure deadlines, and I was anticipating some additional needs of people who are close to me -- family members, friends, and some of my clients who are presently at a high-intensity place in the divorce stream. I realized my "battery was running low" when day after day after day I found myself feeling exhausted and put-upon whenever anyone needed me.

That's a big clue for me to take a breather. So, I did.

I went to Santa Fe for the weekend; "camped" in a lovely little cabin at the Rancheros campground - the windows faced east, and I awoke every morning with the sun coming over the Sangre de Cristo mountains. I saw some amazing art works, re-visited the beautiful old missions
and chapels (including the oldest church in the United States), hiked some gorgeous mountain trails, laid outside and gazed at a stunning star-filled sky, and drove out to Bandelier National Monument. It was peaceful, restful, restorative, and a wonderful start to the upcoming challenges I will be seeing as a new Grandma, ("Mee-maw"), a returning researcher, teacher, presenter, and on-line coach.

When you start to feel the serenity slipping away from you, take a break. Maybe you can't get all the way away to some place like Santa Fe; so take a mental vacation to somewhere that restores your heart and spirit. Take care of YOU first. Then, you can take care of others.


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