How To Take Care Of Yourself When You’re The Go-To Person
We all have that one person who we go to for advice. Whether it be career, relationship or health related, we trust their opinion and rely on them being available when we need them. They are our go-to person. They help us see the bigger picture, offload our worries to, and essentially make us feel more confident about our decisions. They are taking care of us, but are they taking care of themselves?
If you’re that go-to person focusing on everyone else, it is easy to put your own needs to the side and not think about what you need. It can be hard to do when you are focused on helping others, but it is important to take some time out.
Recognising you need a break
Prue Sturgeon, Mind Body Medicine Practitioner and Director at HealthSpace Surry Hills & Redfern, explains that recognising the need of taking time for ourselves doesn’t come naturally because we often focus our energy outwards on others, work, children, family and friends.
By becoming more aware of how your experience started, you are not only able to recognise a trigger, but also take care of yourself.
“In many cases, learning to take care of yourself is something that will be learned the ‘hard way’,” says Prue. Usually it is after a negative experience such as a health crisis or pushing yourself too hard.
Until now, I never realised how much of an impact not taking time for myself could have on my overall life. Prue points out that being overwhelmed can impact us on so many levels, for example, you feel tired all the time, even in the mornings, you have little to no free time, or you lose motivation to do the things in your life that normally light you up. Recognising you need a break is the first step to getting back to your usual self.
Take care of yourself while helping others
For you to be able to continue to help others, you also need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Becoming overwhelmed can be a result of being in your head too much and not focused on the now.
“Begin by taking notice of when you are feeling drained, overwhelmed or anxious and observe what triggered that experience,” says Prue. “Was it a specific task at work, a particular conversation with a friend, or simply being in a specific location or environment that prompted these feelings?”
Once you know what your trigger is, get it out of your head by writing it on a piece of paper.
“This seems so simple and, in some cases, unnecessary,” says Prue. “However, from a cognitive perspective, you are processing the feeling and gaining more clarity about this through the simple act of writing it down.”
By becoming more aware of how your experience started, you are not only able to recognise a trigger, but also take care of yourself while you are helping others.
Listen to your own advice
We’re so focused on telling other people what we think, we sometimes forget to listen to our own advice. If you are feeling emotionally and mentally drained, think about what you would tell someone else to do in the same situation. And if that doesn’t help, these tips from Prue might get you started.
1. Get Curious + Observe
Notice where you’re experiencing the feeling. How does it feel in your body? Is your chest tight or your shoulders tense? Focusing on where we feel tension in our bodies is a good way to get out of your head.
2. Breathe deeply
When done properly, this is very useful for calming your whole body and letting it know that you are safe. This state improves numerous functions in your body including immune, digestive, blood flow, heart rate as well as memory and the ability to think clearly.
Get the thoughts in your head onto paper. Whether it’s listing out the jobs you need to do, or a stream of consciousness, the very act of writing things down can help bring clarity and calm feelings.
4. Be mindful
Becoming overwhelmed can be a result of being in your head too much and not focused on the now. To help bring you back to the present, try the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” exercise. One by one, focus your attention on:
- five things you can see
- four things you can touch/feel
- three things you can hear
- two things you can smell
- one thing you can taste
5. Seek support
If you’re regularly experiencing feelings of overwhelm and anxiousness, it can be a good idea to seek support from someone who can help navigate these feelings and work with you to build strategies for managing everything which is going on in your life so that your life works for you and not against you.
While you’re trying to feel better, check out these six instagram accounts that are sure to bring you joy.
Emma Davey is a passionate story teller who spends her time challenging her understanding of the world and sharing her experiences of living overseas on her blog Another Aussie Abroad.