Taking Care of Yourself and Others, Especially as an Empath
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and learning the best self-care regimen as well as gaining the ability to help others obtain their life fulfillment.
One of the most important things we need to do when we are on this Earth is care for ourselves. A lot of people feel as though caring for themselves makes them selfish. It is not selfish to care for yourself. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Meaning, you cannot help other people if you are not taking care of yourself. In a time when many of us are fighting for social justice in the world, I felt it was very important to ensure everyone is taking proper care of themselves.
Being an Empath, you are often caring for other people and forgetting to care about yourself. Us Empaths, especially, tend to do this. STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!! Take care of you first!
Like anything, the best way to ensure you are taking the upmost care of yourself is by getting into a routine of doing so. Like any change, getting into a new routine can be hard. I am going to tell you the easiest way for you to start a healthy and manageable self-care regiment. Then, you can incorporate it into your life and start taking on the world again!
One thing I learned in my Social Service Worker college program was that in order to help others in a counseling role, I had to be sure to take care of me. I needed to care for every aspect of myself: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If I didn't then I could face being burnt out. Being burnt out is never good. It is like falling into a severe depression and feeling completely overwhelmed by everything going on with everyone around you. You become exhausted in every way and feel drained and the only way you can get out of being burnt out is by lots and lots of self-care. So, instead of experiencing all that and having to pull yourself out of being burnt out down the road, why not take care of yourself now?
I want to teach you about a theory that might change your life and the way that you help those around you as well.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology published by Abraham Maslow in Psychological Review in a 1943 paper entitled "A Theory of Human Motivation." It outlines all the needs that one must meet in order to reach an entire level of fulfillment in life. These needs also outline what motivates us as humans.
When training to be a counselor, we are taught this diagram and told that our clients must try to be fulfilled in these areas in order to be happy. It is the basic diagram we go on to ensure we are helping to care for our clients in all aspects of their lives. This is why learning this can help you achieve the utmost self-care regimen.
The diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs (which can be seen above) is read from top to bottom.
Physiological needs (survival) is the most basic and important need that must be met in one's life. In order for one to survive, they need air, shelter, water, food, sleep and sex. Yes, they have proven that even our ability to seek sexual pleasure and reproduce is a basic need. Many consider these things when thinking about self-care. In order to take care of yourself, you need to ensure that you have all of these things handled. Do you have clean air to breath? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have access to clean water (many places in America don't)? Do you have adequate food every month (poverty means that starvation and hunger, even in western society, is high)? Do you receive enough sleep in a night? It is surprising how much ensuring you get the right amount of sleep nightly can change your life. Do you have a sexual release? Even if it is masturbation, that is still better than nothing!
Safety and security is the next area on the diagram. It is important that you feel completely safe and secure. You need to feel as though you won't be harmed physically, emotionally, mentally, sexually and that you will not be neglected or have your affection alienated. This is not something those stuck in an abusive relationship have.
Social needs are next. Do you have a good support system? Are there close friends that you get along with? Do you have family who you can turn to? The more close relationships you have, the more fulfilled you will be in life. Life is about all the moments you spend with the people you love, after all. Also, as humans, we have a need to socialize. Unless you are suffering from antisocial personality disorder or another mental health illness, socializing is in your nature. It is normal to want to have contact with others. Since social media has become popular, society has needed this connection with others more than ever and they can now receive it without leaving the comfort of their own home. The question is, is it the same? That could be a discussion for another article. However, being social is part of life and needing to be is also part of being human. In fact, we consider those who do not socialize easily and effectively to have issues with communication. We are taught social skills in school growing up, even.
Esteem includes self-esteem, confidence and achievements. Many people think that self-esteem and confidence are the same things. In fact, they are very different.
The highest triangle on this pyramid represents self-actualization. This is basically feeling as though you have purpose in your life and can be creative. It also includes what problem-solving skills we possess and how spontaneous we can be in life.
If we ensure all these needs are met and in this order, we can ensure we have a fulfilling life. If we ensure these needs are met in the people we help, we can help them fulfill a wonderful, productive life as well.
Using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to Form an Amazing Self-Care Plan
According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, one's physical needs must be met first. To ensure your physical needs are met in an amazing self-care plan, this is what you need to ensure you do:
Bathe regularly and do something daily to make you feel good about your physical appearance. If that is your hair and makeup, awesome! If you feel pretty when you have your nails painted, do that! Dress in a way that you feel beautiful but also comfortable. Be sure you get a good night's sleep, and eat nutritious, healthy foods. Try your best to work on having a healthy diet. What we put into our bodies really is important! If you are on any medication, make sure you keep up with your medication regimen. Get rest throughout the day. Make sure your surroundings are always safe and be sure that if they are not, you contact the authorities and get help from some resources in your community.
Next, you need to be sure that your social needs are met. This means that you need to talk to other people regularly. Many Empaths suffer from Social Anxiety, however, you can reach out to communities online or have a couple of trusted friends whom you talk to on a regular basis. Talk to your family and friends as often as you can. It is good to be social. Spend time with your significant other and children, if you have any, and be sure you are all comfortable to talk about your feelings, dreams, and just shoot the shit over the dinner table!
Working on you self-esteem and achievement can be something that you do while you go to work every day. If you are a stay-at-home mom, find that sense of accomplishments in the tasks that you do daily. You did the laundry, took your child to the park, had dinner ready on time, cleaned every room of the house and all the messes the kiddos made and those are all accomplishments! If you do not work and you are not a stay-at-home mom, find something that can give you a sense of achievement. Take up a hobby or craft or maybe think about going back to work. Do something that makes you feel like you are doing something great for the world!
Working on self-esteem may need some help from a trusted counselor. If you feel you can do this on your own, be sure to wake up every morning and give yourself some positive affirmations. Follow my future posts to find out how to work on your self-esteem and boost your confidence!
Do things that are creative. All of us Empaths seem to have creative minds. We love to write, draw, paint, sculpt, act, do anything artistic! Dive into that! Have some fun in life! Give yourself a break from your hectic emotions and the busy world out there and take some time to enjoy life.
If you ever forget how to stay in an amazing self-care regimen, just refer back to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and it will remind you of all the areas in your life that you should be paying attention to.
Now, go figure out how to add all this into your week! You can figure out small things to do daily in order better care for yourself. Self-care is extremely important, especially if you are an Empath.
Also, ensure those who you are helping have fulfilled these areas in their lives, otherwise you will find yourself continuously giving them the same help over and over again. It is better to teach people how to help themselves than it is to continuously help them. So, maybe share this article with them and go take a bubble bath and work on your self-care regimen! ;)