Prioritizing Me: How the Asian Beauty Community Helped Me Put Myself First
Whether you’re a mom, a dad, or a caregiver, chances are you probably end up last on your priority list. But you need to take care of you in order to take care of anyone else. Here, how one caregiver has learned to care for herself through the Asian Beauty community — and it’s not just her skin that has benefited.
When was the last time you put your needs ahead of someone else’s? Chances are you have someone depending on you for various reasons. According to the Mayo Clinic, “About 1 in 3 adults in the United States provides care to other adults as informal caregivers. A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need, such as an ill spouse or partner, a disabled child, or an aging relative.”
Whether you’re a mom, the head of your household, or someone dedicated to caring for a family member with an illness or chronic condition, you’ve probably forgotten to take time for yourself on occasion. I know I have.
My amazing husband has progressive multiple sclerosis and became disabled in 2010. I am his chauffeur, chef, and caregiver. I also run a home-based business, which means I’m often dead last on my own priority list.
Notice I didn’t say “always last.”
When you’re caring for someone else, it’s easy to lose yourself, especially when caregiver overload strikes. At the risk of sharing too much information, I’ve experienced every single item on this list:
Signs of Caregiver Overload
* Feeling tired, overwhelmed, sad, or worried
* Being grouchy or irritable
* Difficulty sleeping (or just the opposite)
* Gaining weight or forgetting to eat
* Being disinterested in socializing or long-time hobbies
* Experiencing new pains and physical ailments
* Using drugs or alcohol excessively
Experiencing these feelings and going through them on occasion is completely natural, but if you want to be at your best to care for those you love, then the AB (Asian Beauty) community can help.
Reconnecting via subreddits, Instagram, and Facebook
One of the biggest mistakes we make as caregivers is closing ourselves off from our networks. Most of the time, it’s done unintentionally because we’re juggling too many tasks and obligations. But that withdrawal comes at a price.
I once paid a very nice therapist a lot of money to tell me that I shouldn’t be keeping all my thoughts to myself, so I went online, made some new friends who shared similar non-caregiving interests, and pulled myself out of the cave. Those friends posted sheet mask selfies and challenged me to mask daily, which improved both my skin and my attitude.
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And it was, and still is, immensely cheaper than therapy! Except, perhaps, for my own Sulwhasoo addiction. But, hey, skincare is better for your body than booze.
Social media in all its incarnations provides inspiration, joy, and passion. I try to spend time reading skincare articles or scrolling through photos and posts while my sweetie is napping. Some may call that a waste of time, but I’ve discovered tips for using subpar eye gels on my frownies, coupon codes for sales I would have missed (courtesy of everyone on Asian Beauty Skincare Addicts on Facebook), and tricks for modifying my skincare routine to fit my varying energy levels. That’s time well spent in my book.
Thank sneezus for podcasts
Since falling down the K-beauty rabbit hole, I have staved off or shortened many a depressive episode by listening to the collective wisdom of the members of The Snailcast. Finding time to exercise is no small feat, but walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes does wonders, especially when there are K-beauty bloggers and K-pop bands to listen to and watch. And since a new Fabulous Four (Kerry Thompson, Coco Park, Sheryll Donerson, and Tiffany Batista Peterson) just rolled out Beauty Beyond Basics: AKA Triple Bees on iTunes, caregivers can get some self-care as well as a beauty fix every single week.
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Ultimately, as caregivers, we are only as effective as we are healthy. You can’t give what you don’t have, so get yourself on that list — no matter what it takes.
Do you have a hard time prioritizing yourself, whatever your life circumstance may be? Share with us your experiences in the comments below!