Caring for others is wonderful; sacrificing your needs is problematic.

Caring for others is wonderful; sacrificing your needs is problematic.

I used to train at a fitness center whose members were cancer patients and survivors. Exercise has been clinically proven to promote recovery, and it was a wonderful opportunity to help a population I care deeply about. 

I soon realized that finding time to eat was a challenge. I was usually the only staff member there, and there was no break. Except for those who required appointments — such as those who had undergone treatment for brain cancer — participants came and went throughout the day.

I wanted to be available to help everyone who walked though the door, and I couldn’t really do that if I was eating at my desk. When I first started, I only ate when no one was there. Sometimes that meant quickly eating a few bites here and there and finishing the rest of my lunch at home. Thankfully, my sweet participants realized what was going on and encouraged me to eat — “Finish eating your lunch. Take your time. We can wait.” 

When you’re caring for those who want and need help, it can be tempting to sacrifice your own needs. Maybe you, like me, have experience skipping meals. Maybe you have stopped exercising or getting quality sleep. Whatever it is, I encourage you to meet your needs. Ironically, I was better able to help the participants when I ate my lunch. When you take care of of your own needs, you are better able to help others.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week. 

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