Self-Care is a Rock
Have you heard the story about the professor and his jar of rocks?
A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was full. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full. They chuckled and agreed that it was indeed full this time.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as family, health, and relationships. If all else was lost and only the rocks remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.
If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important.
A lot of times we treat self-care like one of the pebbles, or even the sand. We think, “Work now, play later.” Or “If I finish my chores, I’ll treat myself to that yoga class.” Or, “I need to wait until the kids are done with this baseball season before I can commit to therapy for myself.” Imagine what your like would be life if you went ahead with the class, or workshop, or therapy. Do you think you would have more energy, more vitality, more creativity, more “oomph” to give to your job, your interests, and the people who you most care about?
Today, I challenge you to treat your self-care like the rock that it is. Put it in the jar first. Otherwise, your jar may become too full. Trust me, you’re worth it.