I took a bit of a break from blogging this week. I’ve been feeling foggy and groggy and out of sorts.
What I’ve learned over the past few years is that when I’m feeling like this, it’s a strong indication that I need to slow down and ground myself. I’ve been on auto-pilot for some time without taking a proper, restful break, and I feel like I have some wear-and-tear going on inside.
All the signs are telling me that I’m in need of a little self-care.
The oxygen mask analogy is one of my favourite ways to describe the necessity of putting yourself first. If you’ve been on an airplane, you’ll be familiar with the flight attendant describing the process of putting on an oxygen mask should an emergency take place: put your own mask on first and then help others. Why? If we don’t put our own mask on first, it won’t be long before we pass out on the floor. What good then would we be to anyone else?
If in life we’re constantly on the go, tending to the needs and demands of everyone else, while neglecting ourselves, there comes a point when we become sort of “life hypoxic” – drained of energy, interest, and feeling. We can no longer give anymore. We withdraw. We lose the capacity to effectively contribute to relationships, our job, our community. We drag ourselves along just to keep up. How does that amount to truly living and experiencing life?
I admit I used to think people who put themselves first were selfish. That was before I fully understood the concept. I was actually jealous of the fact that these people made sure they got enough rest, they asked for what they wanted and they were able to say “no” once in a while when they knew saying “yes” meant overextending themselves.
Don’t get me wrong – selfishness certainly exists. I see it as a derivative of ego and fear. Putting yourself first, on the other hand, comes from a place of love: love for yourself, for wanting to be your best self, and for nurturing your best self to positively impact the lives of those around you.
When I’m feeling depleted, I have a list of things I call upon to help me recharge, such as extending my weekend with a day off (like I’m doing this weekend!), getting a massage, turning my phone off and not checking email, and making sure I get enough sleep. Sometimes when all of these things aren’t enough, I start thinking about vacation, which reminds me, I need to check the prices on some all-inclusive packages. 😉
Do you have a self-care routine? What are some of the things you do to put yourself first?