Who’s comes first? Where are YOU in line? Self care is so often an after thought, but without it, you place your health at risk. Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself.
We have all heard the instructions of an airline attendant reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. This advice is also a metaphor that so accurately expresses why self care is important. If you can’t take care of yourself you may be unavailable to care for others.
Few situations in our daily lives mimic the wake-up call of an airplane emergency, so it’s easy to dismiss this analogy and avoid self-care. But then what happens when we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted and suddenly don’t have the energy to care for the people who count on us. That’s when we realize we haven’t been getting the “oxygen” in the airplane metaphor that we need to sustain ourselves. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent, it’s just plain practical.
Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself. For many of us there is always something we feel we could be doing for someone else, but it helps to remember the airplane metaphor. Try to remind and encourage yourself by saying, “I’m caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others”.
It also helps to remember that self-care doesn’t mean engaging in enormously time consuming behaviors. In fact, the best prescription for taking care of yourself is probably simple things like taking a nap. eating a relaxing and healthy meal, a brisk walk outdoors, participating in an energizing SPIN class, finding a quiet place to read or maybe an afternoon visit to a spa.
Making effort to put yourself first will have positive impact on you and the ones you love. The “oxygen” you need is all around you, sometimes you just need to be reminded to breathe.
Remember to push the Pause Button and breathe.