Here’s a riddle for you:
Imagine there’s a plane heading to a far-off destination and still has ten hours in the air. As the crew gets the food ready to hand out, they realize there was an error on the tarmac and none of the food carts were filled. There’s only one sandwich on the whole plane. The question is, who gets the sandwich?
Does the crying toddler get the sandwich? Does the elderly grandmother get the sandwich? There are plenty of people on the plane who are hungry, but who actually ends up with the sandwich?
Answer: The pilot.
There are a lot of deserving people who could get the sandwich, but the pilot is the most important person on the plane for obvious reasons. Therefore, the pilot gets the sandwich.
Look, this is just a story, but guess what – YOU are the pilot. If you tend to take care of other people, keep the family together and on track, and have a lot on your shoulders, then YOU are the pilot. And you should eat the sandwich.
What does this mean? It means you need to take care of yourself and make sure you are in a condition to be the caretaker that you naturally play in life.
This could literally mean stopping to actually eat and nourish yourself, but it could also mean a number of other things: taking time for yourself to workout, take a bath, meditate, watch a show, read a book, or anything else that re-energizes you.
This is a hard thing to do for people usually in a caretaker role. You feel like you don’t deserve it. You feel like there’s so much else to take care of. You feel like there’s no time.
These are all valid concerns. But we also know burnout is real and if you go too long taking care of everyone else, you can become resentful, exhausted, and ultimately everyone suffers including yourself.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to take a full day at the spa right away. Start small with something you can do for just five minutes. Then you can work your way up and make it a habit to…eat the sandwich.