Pat Nichol | Don’t be everything to everybody
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08 Feb Don’t be everything to everybody

Taking good care of yourself isn’t selfish.

It’s necessary. It is one of the most courageous things we can do for ourselves.

Have you ever been on a plane and listened when the cabin attendants are going through the safety instructions? They come to the part about depressurization and the oxygen masks dropping down, and they don’t say take care of everyone else and then take care of yourself. They tell you that no matter who is dependent on you, you put on your own mask first. Take care of yourself first. If you don’t, you won’t be able to take care of those who need you. Then, if you have more than one person with you who is dependent on you, decide which one you like best. (Kidding!)

A recent article in the local paper referring to a mental health report stated “Canadians caring for chronically ill older relatives are stressed out at a time when an aging population means more people will require such care.” We can’t afford this.

I grew up at a time when there were many “Type E” personalities in the population. Type E meant trying to be everything for everyone. That was simply the way it was done. If you didn’t put everyone else first, you were perceived as selfish, uncaring of others, thinking only of yourself. An E-type person is guaranteed to burn out from stress long before they have an opportunity to be the amazing person they were meant to be.

We need to stay strong, first of all, for ourselves, then for the others around us. People are living longer. Are you aware that the reason the retirement age was originally pegged at 65? Because in 1880, when it was decided upon, most people didn’t live that long. Today, more of us are living to over 100. I plan on being around to 115, and I’m sure that by the time I get close to that, there will be lots around me about the same age.

So, back to my original statement. Taking good care of yourself isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. The key phrase is taking care of yourself – eat right, exercise to the best of your ability and love yourself.

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