Putting Yourself First
Remember when we travel, the instructions of an airline attendant, always reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs.
Think of this advice as a metaphor for self-care because it so accurately expresses why it is important.
If you can't take care of yourself for yourself, do it for others.
Many situations in our daily lives mimic the wake-up call of an airplane emergency, so it's easy to keep putting self-care off. Until one day we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, and then suddenly don't have the energy to care for others.
When it's often too late, its when we realize we haven't been getting the oxygen we need to sustain ourselves. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent; it's just plain practical and logical
Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no, at times to others in order to say yes to yourself.
For many of us, we feel obligated to do for others, however it helps to remember the oxygen metaphor. You can yourself by saying "I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others" or some other mantra that will encourage you.
It also helps to remember that self-care doesn't have to be composed of extremely time-consuming actions. In fact, the best solution for taking care of yourself is probably small, daily rituals; such as for example, taking one half-hour for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to meditate, journal, or just be. Also, you might also transform the daily shower or bath into a half-hour self-pampering session.
Whatever you decide, make sure you put yourself first every day. The oxygen you need is all around you; sometimes you just need to be reminded to breathe.
Samples of self care (and feel free to add your own):
meditate daily 5 minutes,
daily prayer 5 minutes
exercise (yoga, jogging, walking)
pampering (whatever that means to you)
Facials, manicures, pedicures
Sitting in the sauna or steam room for 5 minutes
read funny jokes 5 minutes
engage in a favorite hobby
read your favorite magazine or book
have a good breakfast
eat some greens
make love, masturbate (whatever floats your boat)
listen to your favorite music
talk to your favorite people
discover your hidden talents.....
Take a workshop
Schedule a massage
Learning to say no to over scheduling yourself
Take a walk in the wild side (go to the park or nearby beach or river)
Take pictures of silly things
Watch cartoons for a change
Remember it might seem like a waste of time to take time for non-essential pick-ups. But at the end of the day you will be more productive and better at doing your task when you are fresh and clear-minded. Being over-whelmed by stress and daily busy schedules produces more confusion and delays then a clear thinking mind.