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Our Mask

Stepping out of codependency involves learning how to take care of ourselves and our needs so we can then take care of others. This is an important lesson to learn. Being in a caring profession my focus is on helping others but if I'm not careful I can get so consumed with serving others that I forget to take care of myself and my own needs. Today on my way home from work I began thinking about my day and wondering why I was crabby. That is not how I normally am but today little things bothered me and I began to puzzle out the reason. This is part of what doing a daily inventory involves. Daily I have to think through my day and review the good and bad things about my day and what my victories have been. My inventory allows me to evaluate my progress and make necessary changes. So this is what I did as I puzzled through my day on my way home. God usually provides me insight as I think through my day and tonight was no exception. Suddenly, a light bulb came on as I realized what had happened. I had forgotten to put the "mask" on myself before I began helping everyone else. For breakfast, I had grabbed a couple handfuls of high energy nutty squares but I had left home without packing my lunch and without my water. My work day was busy. I had a few breaks but I didn't take time to care for myself as I continued putting out fires even during my breaks. My grumpiness was because I was hungry and my body was telling me I needed to eat. So despite the fact that our pets needed attention, I made myself supper and told our animals they had to wait. It was time for me to take care of my own needs so I could then take care of them.

Often life pushes in on us, keeping us so busy that we forget to take care of ourselves. There's work, family, appointments, dishes, housework, laundry, groceries, children, church, school, sports . . . We wear tons of hats in this life but it is important that we learn to take care of ourselves. Maybe it's just saying no to a commitment so we can have a reprieve and break from the demands of life. We all must learn to find opportunities for self-care so we don't burn ourselves out in the busyness and stress of life.

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