Yoga in Real Life: Caring for Others While Loving Yourself

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Something I have noticed myself struggling with lately is maintaining the balance of caring for others, particularly my friends, while still loving myself. I tend to put everyone else before me and there is no time for me to care for myself. This builds up and creates tension in my relationships as I become overwhelmed with helping everyone else. While my frustration builds up and I continually don’t take time for myself, I become increasingly sensitive. This is particularly challenging when I feel I want to bring up an issue, but I have let the issue build up to the point where it comes across in a bad way when I do speak.

I love that my friends feel like they can count on me no matter what. However, if taken too far, being a ‘people-pleaser’ can become detrimental. Here are my tips for knowing when to put yourself first and when to hold back until the right moment.

  • Know when to speak. If there is an issue you want to bring up with a friend make sure you know your timing. Will your words do more harm than good? If your friend just got some bad news or is stressed about a big exam the next day, maybe now is not the time to discuss the issue. If the issue is something that can be brought up later, wait until the stress clears so you have a more engaged audience. However, if the issue needs to be addressed now, allow yourself to have the spotlight.
  • Think, don’t blurt. Have a plan for how you will bring up the issue. You don’t want to sound too aggressive or angry if you want to solve a problem. Make note of a few important points you want to make sure to mention. That way when you go into the conversation you will be calm and collected, not angry.
  • Unplug. Take some time each day to unplug from other people. Turn off your phone and computer so you don’t get any notifications. Take some time to care for yourself. Read a chapter of that book you are loving, take a relaxing bath, practice some gentle yoga, whatever makes you happy! If you take 30-60 minutes each day to unplug and spend some time caring for yourself you will stay much more grounded and calm during the day. This will help so you don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to help the people around you.
  • Know when to say no. There are times when we have reached our limit and can’t do that one thing for a friend or can’t make the time to discuss something that day. Know when to say no, or even just tomorrow, to a friend. Sometimes we try to do everything all at once and we become even more overwhelmed and reach that breaking point even more quickly. Know when you have enough on your plate and say no if you have to. Your friends will understand, trust me!

It’s important to be there for your friends, but not to the point that it is detrimental to your happiness. We all need a little time to ourselves to relax and unwind from our busy daily lives. Being able to find the balance between caring for others and loving ourselves is the key to living a happy life.

What are some things you do care for yourself?

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