People tell me it is because I am a middle child, that I have a constant need to please everyone around me. Since I was a middle child I quickly became the peace keeper between my older sister and my younger brother. Saying sorry for any reason was something completely normal for me. I was used to apologizing for things that were normally not my fault. Oh, you bumped into me, “I am sorry” You are yelling at me for no good reason, “I am so sorry”. I did not even know it yet, but I was putting everyone else’s needs way over mine. Being a people pleaser at a young age just meant apologizing all the time and maybe sharing my toys a little bit more. But as you get older it means putting everyone else’s problems way above your own. Never did I ever think that doing that would ever affect my mental health and well-being. I thought the simple act of keeping the peace between everyone was helping because, I was not stressing about if anyone was mad at anyone instead, it was hurting me. I would be exhausted for no good reason, my sleep got worse, and my immune system was down. When looking into why I could possibly be always sick everything said lower your stressors. My immune system was down (and still is) because, I am never taking good enough care of myself. I would rather help my friend who is hurting then sleep a couple more hours. My brain always has 5,001 going on so I can never sleep because, I am thinking about all the people and my life and making sure they are all okay. I am exhausted because my brain is tired of taking on everyone else’s extra stress.
I have never realized how much stress being a people pleaser is until I got to college. When I got here I suddenly had less responsibilities, I no longer had to keep the peace at home, I was not in charge of a 300-person high school club, and I am not working. All I have to do here is care for myself. But let me tell you, that is not the easiest to do anyways so I don’t really know how I thought I was taking care of myself before with all those responsibilities. Having down time is a weird thing for me but, I have found things that are major self-care things to fill that time.
Yoga/Workout: I have found quick 20-minute yoga lessons and workout videos that I can do right in my dorm or if I have more time I go to a class at the campus gym.
Hand writing: One of my favorite things to do is hand writing/calligraphy. There are so many how to videos on YouTube or Pinterest.
Nap: A 15-minute nap can go a long way in my book. But be careful about how long you nap for.
Clean: I know this one sounds weird and not fun but, having a clean room can help you feel more productive.
Watch a movie: If you have a lot of time, pop yourself some popcorn or get out the ice cream and enjoy a movie.
These five things have helped me have some much-needed self-care time. People would always tell me about how important self-care is but, I truly did not realize how bad I needed some until I started to fall apart. Taking time for yourself helps you take care of other people. So, from now on I am no longer sorry for not being sorry. From now on I am taking care of myself first and I am not going to feel guilty about it. From now on I am going to take more time to do things that are going to help my mental health and make me smile. From now on I am going to go to bed when my body tells me I am tired. From now on I will not be sorry for problems that others created. From now on I will not take on the stress of others. From now it is a whole me appreciating me.