Put your oxygen mask on first so you can help others put theirs on, (like your children). On an airplane, flight attendants tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others… Message: Take care of you so you are able to take care of others. Sounds simple, but we, especially mothers, often take care of everyone but ourself. Our needs, time for self, even nourishment, often gets forgotten or put aside to make time to care for others. We wonder why many of us are tired or feel like we lack energy. We wonder why we look to caffeine or even wine to “replenish” our diminished energy supply.
Why do we feel guilty about doing for ourself? Why do we apologize for it? There is a difference between being selfish or narcissistic and practicing self care. Martyrdom helps no one… it just creates resentment and imbalance. My awesome wisdom coach, Pamela, said something to me when I first started working with her as I was exhausted from keeping my head above water in my ‘endurance swim’ of life after one son’s Leukemia treatment, another son’s Stroke at birth and issues developing from it as he gets older. She told me, “Your well (energy well) is low because you give and give to everyone without taking time for yourself which will replenish that well”. That helped me to give myself permission to take time for myself- through exercise, massage, reading a book, lunch/dinner with girlfriends…whatever I need. I am a better mom, better wife, better person when I take that time, be it 30 minutes or 2 hours. Self help author and life coach, Cheryl Richardson, states in her book The Art of Self Care: Transform your Life One Month at a Time, “When we care for ourself deeply and deliberately, we naturally begin to care for others…in a healthier and more effective way”. Taking time for and nurturing yourself actually fuels you and enables you to give more deeply and efficiently to others without running yourself ragged. One of Cheryl’s suggestions is to first discover where, when, why and how you feel deprived and then to find your own rhythm and routine. Many of us use the excuse that we do not have time for ourself. Well…create it. A quote I love from Cheryl is “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is like saying ‘I don’t want to do it””. So, create time for YOU and what YOU need. Fill up your well.