By Caitriona MacMahon @
“You have to be okay on your own before you can have a healthy relationship with another person.”
― Jennifer Lopez, True Love
Pick up any item in the grocery store and as clear as day you will find the nutritional content label.
It states the recommended daily allowance of the various vitamins and minerals the product contains. Vitamin A,B,C,D etc all vital for the brain and bodily organs to function at optimum level.
But what about the mind? The mind is the invisible and so often forgotten about. Introducing what I like to call vitamin ‘Me’.
The vitamin needed for optimum performance of the mind and protecting our mental health.
I feel the characteristics of vitamin ‘Me’ are:
Available for free or extremely cheap
No side effects
“As I began to love myself, I freed myself of anything that is no good for me—food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it as love of oneself.”
― Jennifer Lopez, True Love
Me time or doing things for yourself can often be mistaken for selfish behaviour. But perhaps we need to be a bit selfish in order to protect ourselves.
Each conversation we have causes a transfer of energy and unless we restore what we have lost on a daily basis the store depletes.
How often do you feel drained after chatting with someone? An invisible hoover sucks every bit of energy from your body leaving us in a heap.
As kids we learn to care for others, to be sympathetic but what about caring for ourselves? When did we learn how important self care was?
Did we ever? The answer is most likely we were introduced to it for the purpose of recovery rather than prevention.
In my previous articles I discussed some of the things I do for self care namely colouring and
weight training but the possibilities are endless.
Things such as a stroll in nature, listening to music, writing, reading, being still, upcycling,
handcraft, spending time with animals are all different ways to spend time investing in yourself.
And believe me I understand there are not enough days in the week or hours in the day. But the reality is unless we learn to care for ourselves than how can we be expected to care for those who need us most.
There’s an old Zen saying “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
And how very true this saying is. We are all rushing and getting nowhere, why not try slowing down and embracing the experience.
Recently my cat gave birth to four beautiful kittens. From the moment they were born the mother knew exactly how to care for them and nurture them.
As I observed more and more I began to notice as feeding time approached for the kittens the mother would arrive at our kitchen window looking for food (self care).
Even she knows that unless she recharges her energy or milk store she will have nothing to offer the kittens.
Demands surround us on a daily basis, our jobs, our families, our responsibilities, self care and adequate vitamin ‘me’ helps us manage these demands at our own pace.
I will finish with a famous quote from Buddha himself. “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
Caitriona McMahon is the co-founder of Community Crisis Response Team in Limerick, a voluntary group that visits those who are feeling suicidal, to help them.