Do you have an intense "need" to feel as though you're caring well for others? In my early to mid-twenties, I poured myself into others with everything I could. I gave to others & cared for others so much that I began to feel I was running out of anything to give. A fellow co-worker and mentor who was in her early 40's (whom at the time I thought was really old) gave me some advice.
She told me that I would never be able to
properly care for others if I did not put the time & effort into caring for myself first.
It sounded a little selfish to me. So, I continued to put the care of others ahead of taking care of myself. The results were the same. They didn't change. I felt empty. There's a saying: "You can't pour from an empty cup." And, it took me a few more years to see that I was trying to do just that.
I don't know if it was growing up as the preacher's kid in a small, non-affluent community and seeing all the needs around me that made me so intent upon caring for others. But, it remains to be very important to me. However, I have learned over the years...
Before you can truly "care" for another... You must "care" for yourself...
This "caring for yourself" comes in many forms. There are times when you have to say NO to invites or offers or assignments that you know you'd enjoy. There are times when you have to set aside time for yourself to read, to think, to rest, to reflect. Other times you have to see a need - praying & trusting that it will met by someone other than yourself. You have to remind yourself that you can't say YES to every good opportunity.
But, as you care for yourself, you become stronger & more in tune to accept the tasks that are best for you & others. Never sacrifice yourself in the effort to help others. You will be stronger & better when you start with YOU and work on to others.