Self-Care Sunday: Empty - Taking Care of Yourself FIRST

My friend texted me from the emergency room, concerned and scared. She said they thought it could be a blood clot somewhere. Several days later, after more testing, she discovered that her health complications were due to stress. Unbeknownest to me, her support system had sucked her dry leaving her vulnerable and overwhelmed. I immediately reminded her that she wouldn’t be any good to anyone else if she wasn’t caring for herself. She confessed that I wasn’t the first one to say it: you’re no good to the world dead.

Fortunately my friend’s health wasn’t fatal and in the following weeks she took a huge step back from everything and everyone who was draining her health. It is easy to become absorbed in the lives and problems of those who we love and care for deeply: after all, isn’t the greatest love supporting someone? But unhealthy boundaries can quickly make us inadvertently responsible for burdens that are not ours to carry including situations that should be handled by licensed professionals; especially when it comes to someone’s mental health and state of mind. We often find ourselves in situations wondering what happened long after our health is off balanced. Our situations will manifest themselves physically in our bodies unless we have healthy ways to approach stressful situations and also make sure to care and nurture ourselves as we are trying to help other people. 

Ever thought it somewhat selfish when the flight safety rules indicate to put your oxygen mask on before you assist someone else, even a child? As a society we have negative reactions to "saving ourselves" and "looking out for number one." But how can you help anyone else get oxygen if you are literally and figuratively gasping for air? Both of you would perish.

Things to remember

  1. One of my favorite quotes about this is: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first. As I reiterate every week, self care is vital because it gives you the energy needed to get through life.
  2. Be supportive of those who forget to care for themselves and fall victim to exhaustion and/or health issues, including mental health ones. Don’t hesitate telling someone they need to rest and recharge their batteries.
  3. Read the signs. Whether it’s your health or someone else’s health deteriorating, lack of self-care either because of neglecting health issues or because of stress and blurred boundaries, make seek medical attention.

Have you ever supported a friend by telling them to take care of themselves?


The Body Buffet creates handmade artisan soap, shampoo, conditioners, spa bars, beard care, body wash and more for Baltimore, the DMV, and beyond. We have been creating conditioning skin-loving, hair-loving, since 2009. Visit our shop at Marquita Johl is the soaper-in-chief and a self-care advocate. She has been crafting soap for eleven years.

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