Why is Self-Care Important?

“In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burn out” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.”  –Dalai Lama

My husband, Rick, and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  The weather was perfect—sunny and in the mid-60s.  The sites were educational—Fort Sumter and Boone Hall Plantation. The food was new and refreshing—frozen yogurt and fresh salmon.  Best of all, though, was visiting our son, Brendon.  We loved watching him teach his class, learning about his marathon running goals, and simply visiting with him.  I don’t remember when I’ve returned from a vacation so fulfilled.

Folly Beach, Charleston, S.C.
c. April 2012

Vacations are fun (hopefully)!  We all need to get away from our usual routine, refuel our energies, reconnect with loved ones, and simply think about something besides our usual work and responsibilities.   Our minds, emotions, and bodies need rest, and rest may not always mean being still or sleeping.  Rest can also occur with a change of environment, routine, and activity.  When we take time to rest, whether it’s a vacation or a Sunday afternoon nap, we take care of ourselves.

Not long ago someone asked me, “Why is self-care important?”  At first I was surprised by this question, thinking that the answer was obvious: we all need rest.  We cannot serve others if we ourselves are depleted.

Yet as I thought further about this question and reflected on my own experience

Rick and I with our son, Brendon
c. April 2012

of self-care, I realized that something deeper occurs within me than rest alone.  After caring for myself, I feel more grounded, more centered, and more connected to myself and others.   With my energy coming from a more contemplative place within me, work is no longer a litany of demanding tasks but an enjoyable opportunity to serve and care for others.

Yes, self-care is important.  I recommend it. 

I recommend Charleston as well!

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