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How can I take care of myself when I feel obligated to take care of my family?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 04/14/2020 at 5:11am
1 Tip to Feel Better
South Africa
Moderated by

Claudette Pretorius, MA Counselling Psychology

Licensed Professional Counselor

I know how overwhelming it can feel when you're having a tough time. I offer clients a space that is non-judgemental and empathetic whilst navigating these times together.

Top Rated Answers
Luminations
December 18th, 2014 8:01am
Think about it this way- if you are empty, what can you give to others? If you are empty, there is nothing to give to others. It's easy to think that our needs should come second, that we don't really matter. That we should muster our strength, and press on. But that thought is faulty in a couple of ways: - Error: That your needs don't matter. Truth: Your needs do matter, because you have value and worth as a person. Your concerns, needs, wants, hopes, dreams have just as much value as other people. - Error: That I can't afford to take care of my needs. Truth: When your needs are met, you will have more to give to other people. You will be more happy, content, and able to pour into other people's needs. So, when you meet your needs, you will have more capacity to take care of your family. By taking care of yourself, you will be taking care of you, AND your family.
dancingsong92
December 1st, 2014 4:58am
Your family is apart of you. Taking care of yourself, in turn, takes care of your family. Without you, your family would not be as strong.
RondomCactus
December 1st, 2014 8:30pm
If you feel obligated to take care of your family, then you must know that you have to be healthy and well in order to do so. Don't think about taking care of your family as a single obligation devoted solely to your family; remember, you are also a part of your family, and you deserve to be taken care of as well in order to take care of them. It's a circle of taking care of each other. :)
crlody
November 30th, 2014 9:25pm
The question is how can you afford not to take care of yourself if you want to take care of others as well? That's why when you fly they tell you to adjust your own oxygen mask before attempting to help someone else adjust theirs. It is imperative that you take care of yourself, even if it's something small like taking a bath or a walk, reading a book or spending a little extra time on yourself while getting ready in the morning so that you don't get burned out and have the energy you need to take care of your loved ones.
Oreo
December 6th, 2014 5:56pm
Keep in mind that your family needs you to be just as healthy as you like to see them. Treat yourself like part of your family!
RobynCares
December 21st, 2014 6:32pm
In any situation, it's important to remember that if you are not well, then you are not fit to care for anybody else. The most important person in your life is you, and if you are not taking care of yourself, you won't be able to help the people around you.
Anonymous
December 28th, 2014 5:53am
sometimes you have to take care of yourself so that you are even able to take anyone else. Family is important but you cannot help them if you are falling apart yourself.
Anonymous
January 1st, 2015 10:28pm
You need to understand that you are the most important person in your life, in the end, you are the one that you are mandatory to live with ;) Maybe you can find someone to share the responsibilities of your family with, so you can have a bit more time to yourself.
Anonymous
April 16th, 2015 4:06am
Taking care of yourself is taking care of your family, because if you are run down and tired all the time you can't really help your family to the full extent of your abilitiex.
tazrulz
June 17th, 2015 10:58pm
It usually is best if u realize that your kids will survive without u. We all need time to ourselves.
tammy0hopeisreal
October 15th, 2015 11:44pm
You're going through rough patch right now. Family is blood, and when it comes to many of us, we put these people first, or at least care deeply for our family's well-being. Personally, what I learned throughout my experiences, is that you should prioritize yourself in some way, to ensure physical healthiness, emotional healthiness, and consequently--happiness. In the end, we only have one life, and should make the best out of it. I am not saying that you should merely toss aside ALL of your family's needs and worry only about yourself (because it definitely isn't that simple), but never forget about YOU because your own happiness is very, very important and affects how you feel the minute you wake up every morning, and before you go to sleep.
CreativeWest
November 2nd, 2015 3:45pm
You have to look after the person who is doing the looking after-ing ( and that's you ) if you are tiered and sick - how will you be able to help your family members who may feel sick too? You are just as important ! So take care of your whole family ( including you )
Anonymous
December 1st, 2015 3:14pm
When you help your family you will be able to help yourself. when you love them you will be able to love yourself.
Anonymous
December 22nd, 2015 5:54am
You can still take care of yourself while tending with your family needs and responsibilities. When possible, find things to do that you like and find relaxing. A happy and healthy you means a happy and healthy family too!
Anonymous
March 28th, 2016 10:04pm
In order to take care of your family, you have to take care of yourself first because you have to be there for them.
Mephobia
September 27th, 2016 6:46pm
By ensuring that you have to be at your finest to the most important person in your life. You. Eat Healthy and on time. Rest when you can. Think through the clutter that stains your mind and your desk. Take a long walk. Have a ten minute conversation, everyday with someone who is neither family nor work. Spend a while on your hobby. Build yourself as the reliable person you want to be. Mainly Prioritize.
BethTheSage
April 3rd, 2017 7:25pm
Scheduling and good habits. For example, if you know your kids will be up at 7, set your alarm for 6 so you can get up and do a quick home work out before the day gets away from you. Once it becomes a habit it will become easier. Self care will make you happier and in turn your family as well. Its so worth it!
Anonymous
November 28th, 2017 7:55pm
Do not not take care of them. You can take care of yourself as well as them, you just have to meet your needs first and then go onto meeting theirs
Anonymous
July 10th, 2018 11:09pm
Count yourself as a member of your family, and set aside some care for yourself as well. You'll feel less resentment for your family and they will benefit as a result.
Anonymous
April 14th, 2020 5:11am
Do both. You cannot take care of your family if you have not taken care of yourself. The best way to ensure that you have taken care of you family to the fullest, is to make sure that you are okay as well. Sometimes, you will have to put them first, of course. However, it is important to take of yourself as well. Carve out some time in the morning or evenings when you know no one else will be awake and call that your "me-time." Write down what makes you feel good and do it in your "me-time" slot. Is it reading a book? Writing in a journal? Shooting a basketball? Whatever it is, do it during this time.