You’ve heard it before, so let’s take a moment to remember to do this: take care of yourself before you take care of others.
Yeah yeah… you’ve heard it a million times but is it really that important? You’re probably one of those people who takes care of everyone else except yourself. You’re busy, and you like to make others your priority. But let’s look at why it’s so important to put yourself first.
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you’ve head the familiar safety presentation that always has a version of this: “In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down. Put on your own oxygen mask first, then help those around you.”
In an airplane without oxygen, if you were to help everyone around you first, there’s a good chance the plane would run out of oxygen and you would pass out before you could put your own mask on. And then you’ll be no good to anyone!
It’s less obvious in every day life, but the same principle applies. If you’re always helping everyone else and putting your own needs last, you’ll get sick, or burn out, or become depressed, or have a breakdown, or all of the above.
So how do you get over the guilty feeling when you’re putting yourself first?
Well to start, remember the airplane analogy. You simply cannot help anyone at all if you’re passed out from lack of oxygen.
Next, don’t feel like you need to book a 2-week spa extravaganza to rejuvenate yourself. Small acts of self-kindness every day sure add up. Do something that fits your schedule – whether it’s 5 minutes or 4 hours.
What kinds of small things can you do for yourself on a daily basis?
Try exercise, eating well, taking 5 minutes to sit in silence or to meditate, do a short yoga practice, go for a short walk to clear your head, take an hour to get a massage, the list goes on. Just be sure to do something nice for yourself each and every day. For more ideas on how to take care of yourself with small steps every day, join the free Merry Fitmas challenge.
Tell me: what will you do this week to take care of yourself first? Let me know in the comments below. Later this week, I’ll randomly choose one commenter to win a copy of my book Smoothie of the Day.