Life can feel overwhelming. We’re constantly on the move and doing things for other people. Whether it’s helping your partner feel valued in a relationship, achieving a promotion at work or taking care of your kids, life can be stressful yet also rewarding. It’s important while caring for others to remember your own needs. Self-care is imperative when you’re balancing your responsibilities with your own wellbeing.
Don’t forget to take care of you when you’re balancing your life. When you neglect yourself in the process of living your life, there’s the potential for burnout and we don’t want that! We want you to thrive and be comfortable with managing your emotions.
Watch for signs of burnout
Burnout can sneak up on you. You might feel great at the moment, being involved in many tasks, volunteering at a local church, animal rescue group, or homeless shelter, doing your 9-5 job and taking care of your family. All of a sudden you start to feel anxious. You have trouble getting motivated to get out of bed in the morning, you’re tired much of the time and constantly worrying about getting things done, letting people down, or failing. These are signs that you might be taking on too much. It’s time to evaluate what you can realistically do.
What do you do next?
Maybe this means making a list of your activities/obligations and seeing if there’s anything that you can cut out. Although you love doing things to help others, if you spread yourself too thin, you’re neglecting you. You want to make sure that you place yourself above everyone else. Remember, it’s not selfish to take care of you! When you put yourself first, you’re actually better able to help those around you that you care for.
For many of us, setting boundaries with other people can be challenging. Part of self-care is learning to say “no,” when something isn’t going to work for you. Wanting to help others is a beautiful thing. However, being self-sacrificial isn’t going to help you feel good about yourself in the long term. You’ll likely end up feeling resentful towards the other person and that’s no good. Learn to say no when you feel like you aren’t able to do something. You’ll feel empowered and inspired. You don’t owe anyone anything! Your sanity matters the most; if doing an extra activity or helping someone is at the expense of your mental health, don’t do it!
If you’re struggling with anxiety because life has become unmanageable it may be time to seek help from a licensed mental health professional. You don’t have to do this alone. A licensed therapist or counselor can help you learn strategies to take care of yourself. You can also consider using online counseling as an excellent way to manage your mental health. Your mental health matters and one of the best ways you can take care of yourself is to seek out the help that you need. Don’t be afraid to speak to a licensed professional who can help guide you through this process and learn to take better care of yourself.
About the Author
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.
Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.
Ahhhh. This is good. I think I'll take the 'learn to say no' part. I can really do things I'm not even comfortable with just because I'm trying to be in someone's good books. I think this has to stop so I don't keep regretting my actions.
True. To take care of people around you, you need to be fit to do that. Most people won't understand that and may take it as you not been caring and ignoring them. I just go ahead and do what I want because I can't really wear myself out over some things that can actually fall in place on their own.