Why you need to practice self-care first in order to help the people around you, practical ways to take care of yourself.
If you have ever travelled by air you have no doubt heard the pre-flight safety announcement informing you of the oxygen masks that will drop down in the event the cabin experiences pressure changes and implores you to make sure you put your oxygen mask on before assisting others. There is a good reason for this, the airlines and air safety organisations know that if you aren’t taking care of yourself, your ability to assist others in compromised.
Our busy lives are filled with family demands, child rearing, work commitments, financial obligations and more. Doing too much, too often with no regard for your own needs can be a recipe for burnout. It can be hard to remember that you need to put some time and effort into taking care of yourself. Women are especially vulnerable to carrying for others to the point that they themselves can get run down and over taxed. Although it may feel selfish to put you first sometimes, we all need to recharge our batteries now and then.
Taking care of yourself isn’t about satisfying your whims for that second cheeseburger, glass of wine or spending spree, it is about doing things that truly fill up your tank. Self-care is about choosing behaviors that counteract the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy. Try to find healthy, stress relieving ways to recharge and feel good. Do you enjoy music? Next time you have to make dinner, fold laundry, tidy up or other necessary task, put on some music you enjoy to add a pleasant element to a humdrum item on your to do list.
Take a bath, watch the game, go have coffee with a friend, get a massage, whatever it is that comes to mind. Taking care of yourself gives you the needed reserves to help take care of the important people in your life.