"Fill Your Cup" by Dr. Danielle Manalo
My wise therapist told me, "Sometimes when you say yes to x (spouse, kids, work, friends), you say NO to you. Often mothers/physicians/employees put children/patients/work as top priority to such an extreme that they eventually suffer burnout and wonder how the heck they ended up in their unintended situation.
Is it a compliment or an insult when someone looks like at me surprised when they discover I am a physician with two children? What does that say about society's expectations of what a full-time working mother should look like?
We applaud Dr. A because she pulled a double shift. But do we congratulate Dr. B for saying "no" to extend her shift because it conflicts with her daughter's 5th birthday party?
We award Mr. Jones for never calling in sick in his 10 years with the company. Did he truly live an emergency-free life for the past decade? Or did he show up to work with a high fever and just suck it up? Did he work his usual shift instead of being present at his spouse's first chemotherapy session?
I'm not saying these actions aren't noteworthy. My concern is that we live in a culture that perceives self-care as secondary at best and selfish at worst. When I see a patient with signs of burnout, I often ask, "What did you do yesterday that was just for you?" Deer in headlights. Crickets. Not everyone that ignores or delays self-care has burnout. But avoiding it in general is not helping your cause. Give yourself permission to take good care of YOU. You may have a sig-O or best friend that encourages you to do so, but you're getting in your own way! In the famous words of author and shame researcher Brene Brown - whose life-changing work I wish I discovered much sooner - "You are WORTHY." Check out her powerful TED talk here.
How do you #fillyourcup? It may be in the form of a mani-pedi, a massage, a housekeeper once a month, a babysitter for adult night out, an ENTIRE day off for the sake of your mental health, or 5 minutes alone outside to take deep breaths and woooosaahhhhh.
I challenge you to say YES to YOU. Try it. Don't feel guilty because self care is not equivalent to being selfish. Others who are accustomed to you saying YES to them may perceive it as such. But they clearly don't have your best interest at heart. Teach the world how to treat YOU - by starting with yourself. Only when your heart is full can you truly give of your whole self - your best self.