Using Your Oxygen Mask for Self Care


I often ask my new clients to come up with a general list of priorities and am curious if they put themselves on that list. If there is a "ME" on their list and if so, where did it rank. Did they put themselves as the #1 priority? If not, why not? If they didn't make the cut, what are their thoughts as to why not?


"If I don't handle it, it won't get done" "I don't have time to take care of me", "I'll slow down once I get this project taken care of" "Once Suzy is off to college then it's my turn" Any of the above sound familiar? It is important to manage our thoughts when juggling multiple requests, tasks or obligations. As long as you are clear with your motives, you can stay clear of resentments, frustrations, and martyrdom. You may "think" you are the only one that can save the day, be the "only one" to take on a task or "the only" shoulder a friend in need can cry on. The key is staying clear and clean on what our own agenda really is. But there is always a price for taking too much on and largely it is the expense of putting others before yourself.


There is no question that in life, you have multiple responsibilities requiring you to wear many hats.  These responsibilities may be as a parent, student, caretaker, a partner, friend, employee, a helping professional or community volunteer. it is important to accept your obligations, today you may want to make an effort to take some time out for yourself as well. Try to take on only those responsibilities that are your own and not someone else's. In a time of need, it's important to take hold of your own oxygen mask, breathing in being in the moment, acknowledging gratitude, reclaiming a sense of calmness serenity as you feel the ground beneath your feet. Remind yourself that you cannot help someone unless you take care of yourself first. As you go about your day you may also want to remember to do your tasks for the joy they bring and not because they make you feel needed. As too often, we tend to put the needs of others above our own.


Is this selfish you ask? I would answer - NO as self-care is the foundation for your total wellness of mind-body-spirit. If you are well nourished those around you will reap those benefits ten-fold. By caring for yourself first, you will find that it is easier to support others with a spirit of true generosity today. So get out, dust off and put on that oxygen mask - daily.