Sweat & Smiles: The Essential Importance of Taking Care of Yourself First in Order to Care for Others

By Melissa Romano on April 07, 2018 from Sweat & Smiles via Connect-Bridgeport.com

How could I consider putting myself first when I have a toddler? To some the concept may sound selfish. To me, and Cannon, it’s essential.
Recently I took a quick trip to DC with my best friend, visited with friends from college, and took some time for myself. The following weekend we took our annual Easter trip as a family, the time with my husband and son was fantastic. Both of these trips were fun, meaningful, and exhausting. Next weekend I’ll be heading to a retreat in Berkeley Springs.
These trips got me thinking about how different they each are. I love traveling but each of these trips has a very unique and necessary piece of my better, happier, healthier puzzle. I love spending time with my friends and I think it’s vital to all humans to stay connected with others. Heading to a retreat though, even as the host, is all about me. When I return from a retreat I’m not exhausted, I’m ready to take on the world. A perfect example of why taking care of myself is my top priority. Instead of continuously trying to pour from an empty cup, I make time to fill it up. 
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a retreat (though I highly recommend them) to fill up your cup. In fact, you should try doing something everyday that helps you recharge. As a personal trainer people believe my number one priority is to get them to workout a lot. My priority is to get them to be better, happier, and healthier and a couple quick workouts a week are just one small piece of that puzzle. When someone comes to me exhausted and saying they know they need to workout but they don’t have the energy I don’t berate them into forcing themselves to workout. I focus on supporting their energy. I focus on getting them to fill up their cup. 
If you’re one of the many who are doing it all, taking care of your family, your work, your home, your friends (and probably a couple other things you took on without noticing), you are more than likely trying to pour from an empty cup. If you aren’t sure if your cup is empty a couple tell-tell signs are: reaching for that second cup of coffee, an afternoon pick-me-up, trouble sleeping, dark circles, puffy eyes, foggy brain, and anxiety. Living like this long term can lead (or maybe already has) to a whole host of physical, mental, and emotional problems.
Unfortunately our own parents probably showed us an example of putting themselves last and we’re carrying on that tradition. The concept of taking care of yourself first so that you can take care of others can not only break that cycle but give our children a better, happier, and healthier life. In an airplane you’re always given instructions in case of an emergency to put your own oxygen mask on before you help someone else, even your child. Just imagine if you didn’t, you insisted to try to help your child first and you lost consciousness. You are no longer able to help your child at all, let alone first. While your day to day decisions don’t seem so life and death, they’re still very essential to the health and well being of you and your family. Taking care of yourself first is not selfish, it’s essential. 
Since this concept is so far away from the examples most of us were given I’d like to give you a couple starter examples on simple ways you can take the time to fill up your cup. 
Hire a babysitter so you sit in your house by yourself, not cleaning, just relaxing. 
Set a goal to read 30 pages a day of books that you find empowering. 
Play Spa music on your phone and take an Epsom salt bath. 
Set aside 10-20 minutes a day to meditate. 
Set a timer for 20 minutes and journal each day. 
Buy the groceries that make you feel the most vitality, even if no one else in your family will eat it. 
Take one day a week off from social media. 
Take a leisure walk in nature. 
Take a few minutes each day to sit in a room or spot you find pretty or relaxing. 
Make your favorite meal and sit alone with quiet music and enjoy it. 
Spend a few minutes a day with your favorite hobby or trying different hobbies to find ones you love. 
The activities can be simple and only take a few minutes but I can promise a great return on your investment. The greatest investment you’ll ever make is an investment you make in yourself. 
Sweat & Smiles,
Editor's Note: Melissa (Romano) Robbins is the founder of You First a personal training program created because of a strong belief that the greatest investment you can make is in yourself! After graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan College she completed 200+ hours to obtain her Professional Certificate of Personal Fitness Training from Pierpont Community College.  Since 2009 she has worked full-time as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and wellness coach. She believes in functional fitness, healthy lifestyle changes and a holistic approach to a better, happier life. She was born and raised in Clarksburg and is married to Bridgeport native Alan Robbins, owner of First University baseball facility. Alan and Melissa welcomed their son, Cannon in September 2015. Visit Melissa's Web site at  https://youfirst.fitness/ or email her at melissa@youfirst.fitness.

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