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Take care of others by taking care of yourself, first

Who comes first, you, or your child?

For most of us, it’s an easy answer. We will give anything for those we love and cherish, especially our children. Their needs come before our own.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for putting yourself first.

It’s not about being selfish. Quite the opposite. If you are constantly tired, or in pain, or struggling with stress and sleep problems that leave you short-tempered or stumbling around in a brain fog all day, how can you possibly be there, really there, for anyone else?

It goes hand in hand with that old axiom that’s been repeated by everyone from football coaches to rock stars who have learned it the hard way.

If you don’t have your health, you have nothing.”

It’s an easy thing to forget in the grind of daily life. To lose perspective and come to accept it as your normal when you are dogged with persistent issues that affect your ability to be productive, fully engaged with others, and enjoy life to the fullest.

Too easy to never think twice

There was an amusing incident in our clinic last week. We often don’t treat just individual patients, but entire families.

That day, this husband and wife had discussed their purchase of a magnesium supplement for their son, after it had been recommended that he take one by a pharmacist following a blood analysis. There are at least half a dozen common formulations of magnesium. In addition to simply providing the body with an adequate daily amount of this vital mineral, different formulations can provide different secondary health benefits. But a few are simply inferior. The couple agreed on which one they should buy for their son.

The funny part came after the wife then went and bought her own magnesium supplement – the same magnesium/calcium combo from a popular consumer brand that she had bought for years. Guess what – it was one of those inferior forms of magnesium. All her focus had been on buying what was right for her son, then she went and purchased what she always had for herself without thinking twice about it.

Be honest with yourself

It’s easy as parents to put all the focus on our children’s needs. Sometimes, it’s something relatively minor. Other times, it isn’t. You do need to step back once in a while and consider how you feel, to take stock and really think about your own health and well-being:

  • If you are feeling tired and rundown all the time, why?
  • Are you really there when engaging with friends and family, or feeling too muddled to stay focused (most people will notice).
  • How many times this week have you reached for that painkiller because of that ache or complaint that keeps coming back?
  • How are you sleeping – are you taking more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, are you wakeful through the night? If that alarm clock has to drag you awake each morning instead of your own internal clock beating it to the punch, you are not getting enough restful sleep.
  • When was the last time you ate your recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains etc.? Do you even know what your daily targets should be?

You owe it to them and yourself

We could go on, but hopefully you get the point. These are all things that impact your quality of life, your productivity at work, your ability to really be there when it counts for the people you love, whether that is in a crisis moment, or simply to be their cheerleader, supporter, and confident when they need it.

You owe it to yourself, because you owe it to them, to take proper care of your own health and well-being, first.

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