Today is a new day. Every morning I wake without an alarm, just waking when my body tells me it’s time to get up (or when my dog whines loudly enough). This morning, I’m groggy from a weird dream where I lost my purse and had to figure out how to reconstruct my whole life without an ID, credit cards, or phone. It felt very overwhelming and stressful, so when I woke up I decided to employ what my friend calls “second sleep” by getting in our giant bean bag with my dog and cuddling with him. I didn’t actually fall asleep, but it gave me a little time to wake up properly and snuggle with my buddy. Who can think of a better way to start your day?
Now, I realize that I do not have a 9 to 5 job or kids to take care of, and I don’t take this luxury for granted. I enjoy every minute of the day that I can just focus on taking care of myself (which feels like enough work!) while occasionally branching out to take care of my dog’s and my husband’s needs. This doesn’t come with a sense of obligation (well, sometimes it does), but rather a sense of joy and appreciation because they take care of my needs as well. My needs for love, acceptance, stability, understanding, and joy are all met in different ways by my family, my friends, and, yes, my dog.
Taking care of my own needs today looks like this: making breakfast for myself (shiitake, arugula, and bacon omelette with avocado; fresh carrot, apple, celery, ginger, and lemon juice; and roasted dandelion tea), taking my gotu kola tincture (for healthy brain function), going for a walk with my husband and our dog, doing work that supports my business (harvesting rose hips, bagging up dried herbs that I picked a few days ago, doing research for upcoming clients, creating a new recipe for a sore muscle salve, infusing comfrey and rosemary oils, planning a facial party, and writing a blog post), taking time to do the exercises recommend by my physical therapist, making dinner for myself and my husband, and probably watching some Korean dramas on Netflix to relax at the end of my day.
Taking care of others’ needs today looks like this: being a sounding board for my husband’s stresses of the day, walking and feeding our dog, making dinner for myself and my husband, preparing for and listening to my clients, planning a party for a friend, and crocheting a Christmas gift for my goddaughter. You may notice that some of the things in these categories overlap (walking our dog is both serving my needs and his needs), and that is how life should be, in my opinion. You can find creative ways to live that serve both your needs and others’ needs. But I firmly believe that you have to tend to your own needs first (put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, as they say).
You may wonder why I categorize the work to support my business in “taking care of my needs” category. Working to support my business meets several of my needs - self-sufficiency, lifelong learning, contributing (this is a need!), stability, creativity, connection with nature, and fulfilling my life’s purpose.
How are you going to meet your needs today? How is meeting your needs going to support you in being able to care for others? We all do so much that often feels unnoticed or under-appreciated. If you can appreciate yourself for taking care of your own needs and lift this up as a primary responsibility of your life, I believe that you will be happier - and others will notice. You can be a role model as you encourage others to pursue their own happiness by taking responsibility for meeting their own needs first.