I was having a conversation with a friend recently and she told me that her step-mom sent her half-brother and sister to visit with her for a while from Florida. I asked her to define “a while” and she said until late December/ early January. This wouldn’t be an issue if my friend didn’t work two jobs and share a small living space with three other people. When I asked her why her step-mom sent them in the first place she said, “Because she needs to get her business off the ground and was feeling overwhelmed.” I wish y’all could have seen the look on my face when she said that shit. I told her that I understood that she wanted to spend time with her siblings and help her step-mom. But I pointed out that she already told me that between the two jobs, she’s exhausted. It’s fully okay to let her step-mom know that she would have to make other arrangements after a few weeks because she needs time to herself. Between the two jobs and playing babysitter to a 12 and a 14-year-old (yeah you read that right) she wouldn’t have time to do anything for herself. She paused for a second and said, “I know. You’re right.”
I think a lot of people find themselves in this situation more than they would like to admit. They find themselves in predicaments where they have to do something they don’t want to do in order the help someone else. Or worse, they’ve been volunteered by someone else to do something to help another person. Both cases suck, and one would definitely not be ideal. It’s not that they wouldn’t want to help, most times people generally do. But helping all the time takes away from time for themselves to recharge. I have a friend who by all accounts is extremely kind and generous with her time. So much so that she’ll put something completely aside to help someone else with something they have. She might go without money, sleep or personal time to assist another. This was always at the expense of herself and well-being. I remember saying to her once that she needed to, “take a break man.” I told her that she was burning the candlestick at both ends. And if she didn’t take some time for herself, that candle would eventually be gone. Over time she got fed up with everyone needing something from her, not giving her much in return and just stopped helping people unnecessarily all together.
Whether you’re a mother, father, wife, husband, caregiver or an awesome best friend, you have to reserve some time for yourself. You are no good to anyone (or yourself) if you don’t have time to recharge your batteries. That’s why you may have to get a little selfish with your time. Taking care of your mental and physical health should always be your number one priority. You can’t help others if you are weak and suffering in either of those areas. And more importantly, you will not be happy. So take some time out for yourself. It doesn’t matter how long you take. It doesn’t matter exactly what you do. Just go do it. Do something that makes you happy, makes you smile or makes you laugh. Find something that brings you joy and a sense of peace. Doing this will not only benefit your overall health, but it will help keep you in tip-top shape to be there for those around you. You matter before anyone else.