I was in college when I first heard the phrase: faith first, family second, career third.
It made sense at the time. Even now it makes some sense. I’ll add, too, that one of the greatest aspects of dairy farming is that it often allows for a blending of faith, family, and career.
But it doesn’t make perfect sense.
I don’t take issue with the order of this maxim. What I do question is: Where do you and I fit in? As in, where does taking care of ourselves fit into this hierarchy of priorities?
I think that many of us are so occupied with these priorities (and others) that our needs, as individuals, get pushed aside.
If you think of your day or week as a pie chart, how big is the piece of the pie that represents taking care of yourself?
What do I mean by taking care of yourself? That answer is different for everyone, but it might include good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and some sort of exercise . . . even though many of us take 20,000 to 30,000 steps a day.
Beyond that, I believe we need rewarding hobbies — something to find enjoyment and engagement in other than our family and farm. Sometimes hobbies give us a way to connect with other people — think bowling or book club. Sometimes they give us a way to unwind and relax — think painting or curling up with a book by yourself.
I wish there was a simple formula for making self-care easy. It’s not. All of things we need to do constantly pull us in different directions, literally, and metaphorically. Each of us has to find our own way to make self-care a priority.
I can say that figuring it out is worth it.
Giving everything we have to our families and our farms without giving anything to ourselves eventually leaves us unable to give anything at all.
The author is a dairy farmer and writer from central Minnesota. She farms with her husband, Glen, and their three children. Sadie grew up on a dairy farm in northern Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in agricultural communications and marketing. She also blogs at Dairy Good Life.