When I was young and I went outside to play with my friends instead of hanging around the house to listen to another screaming match between my parents, they called me "selfish." Now, as an adult, when I go upstairs for much-needed alone time, my kids think I'm self-centered because I don't want to chitchat in the living room. I have been accused, in slightly resentful tones, of having "great boundaries" and knowing what I want.
Over 30 years as a healer, I've learned that self-care is not optional for those in the helping professions. It is a necessity.
When I was first practicing as a psychotherapist and psychological astrologer, I would overextend myself. Buoyed by my belief that I was needed and that I was helping, it was hard to know when to back off and take rest. I would often end up sick or collapsed out of fatigue and would be super grumpy and impatient with those closest to me. I had nothing left to give. Basically, I was a savior by day and a martyr by night. I found out the hard way that regulating my mind, spirit, and body was not a whim or a luxury but a disciplined and dedicated practice necessary to doing my work well.
If we are not in great shape mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, the help we dispense comes from a place of lack—our unconscious need to be needed—instead of from a place of fullness. Healing is not a doing profession; it is a being profession.
I have known far too many "healers" who are not practicing what they preach. Serving others is a privilege and an honor. You wouldn't want to serve others out of a broken or tainted cup. If you truly want to be an effective and inspiring practitioner of any educative or healing art, master these six essentials of self-care: