Taking Care vs. Caretaking

It’s not uncommon for me to hear people struggle with balancing their own needs and those of others.  Some err on the side of being highly self-focused, while others veer more toward being a caretaker.  But an extreme caretaking role can be a problem if you lose sight of the importance of taking care of yourself.

If you’ve ever flown in an airplane and listened to the safety instructions prior to take-off, you’ve probably heard something like this: “In the even of a loss of cabin air pressure, oxygen masks will drop down.  Please secure your own oxygen mask before assisting those around you.”  Essentially, this is stressing to us that we are less able, perhaps fully unable, to help others when we are gasping ourselves for air (e.g., feeling overwhelmed, overcommitted, stressed, physically or mentally compromised).  So, it’s important to take care of yourself — not only for your own good, but so that you can be available to help others as well.