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Self-Care is a Necessity

Put your own mask on before assisting others

Time.

It’s the most precious commodity there is. When you think about it, it’s limited in quantity. We can’t buy more, earn more or turn back the clock. That’s why we need to use our time wisely because life can, and often does, change in an instant.

My dad was the most important and influential person in my life. For as long as I can remember, he loved to impart his profound wisdom…often. At the time, his life lessons could feel harsh and weren’t easy for me to comprehend. But my dad knew what he was doing; he was planting seeds.

Growing up, I was taught that thinking about yourself was being selfish—even self-obsessed. That idea was drilled into me. One time at my own birthday party, I stood first in line to play pin the tail on the donkey. My dad shook his head and said, “back of the line my dear. You are the host. The host always goes last.”

“But it’s my birthday!” I cried.

“Back of the line!” He repeated sternly.

And when I stood my ground, he sent me to my room. It was my seventh birthday, and I spent it in my room.

And so, I learned a hard, but important, lesson. While it’s nice to be a caretaker, there is nothing more important than taking care of your needs, too. It took me many years to understand that good manners are one thing and self-preservation is something else. Self-care is the oxygen and the true foundation for any relationship. It’s so important to take time for yourself—time to think, time to learn, time to grow, time to heal. It’s a necessity. Without it, you can lose yourself. My fathers advice was in part the foundation of the book I wrote Back On the Market, A Realtor’s Guide to Life And Love. In fact, his wise words of wisdom are right there on the opening page. I wrote this book to share with others how I walked through a very dark place in my life, how I dealt with pain, heartbreak and change.

Some people don’t do well with change. They’d rather switch jobs when things get hard, move from one relationship to another or just run away rather than cope with their mess. Boy, do I get that. You see, not long ago, my father unexpectedly passed away. We were headed to Costa Rica to enjoy a family vacation over the holidays. At the time, I worried it could be our last trip together, as my parents were getting on in years and traveling was becoming difficult for them. I had no idea the vacation would never happen, as my father had an aneurysm on the flight to meet us.

As they say, “The knockout punch is always the one you never see coming.” And this one definitely took me down.

But it didn’t take me out.

I cried. A lot. I stayed in bed more than I should have. I poured myself into work whenever I could muster the energy and mindset to be present. And I found solace in the love and support I received from my husband and twin boys.

What I needed to do though was face my grief—and that scared me. How would I ever get over this loss?

I had been through breakups, a divorce, even a devastating friend divorce—all of which were painfully hard. I understood the power of losing someone I loved. But I had never felt anything quite like losing my dad. My mentor. My hero.

I get it. When you’re feeling so bad, finding anything to divert your attention from your chaos can seem great. Who doesn’t want to be distracted from their pain? However, if you take the bait and follow that temporary distraction, there is usually a massive price to pay. When life gets hard, we can’t put our fingers in our ears and pretend it isn’t happening any more than we can turn back time. Like it or not, ready or not, you are in it. How we manage life’s challenges will always dictate the outcome. But not as much as ignoring it. Eventually, it manifests into something much worse. And then, you really have to pick up the shattered pieces of your heart. There are times to cut corners and times you can’t avoid doing what must be done. Even when it’s hard.

I understood processing this loss would take time. And I also knew that with every passing day, I was nurturing the pain more than the healing—paying high interest wishing for time I’d never get back. There would be some good days and bad. And I allowed myself to have both. Eventually, I realized, “This is life, and this, too, would eventually pass.” I kept reminding myself of this, saying it over and over in my head, until one day, my pain and sadness were no longer my predominant thoughts. Gradually, I began feeling like the old me—laughing with my boys and getting back to center. “Slow and steady wine the race.”

This is another message my dad repeatedly echoed when I was a child. He drilled the value of long-term goals over short-term gains into my consciousness. And for this, I am truly grateful. An early warning from wiser souls trying to pass down words of wisdom:

Always do the work. It’s well worth it.

You can read more of Holly Parker’s experiences with her new book, Back On the Market, A Realtor’s Guide to Life and Love, here.

You can reach out to Holly at the following:

Website: www.hollyparker.com

Instagram: @HollyParker_NYC  & @thehollyparkerteam