Self-Care Check List
If you have ever flown on an airplane, you know that part of the flying experience is sitting through the demonstration of the plane’s safety features. After showing you how to use your seat belt, where to find the exits, and how put on your life vest in case of a water landing, the flight attendants demonstrate the oxygen masks.
With their prop mask in hand, the flight attendant pantomimes the mask falling from the ceiling panel, pulling it forward to start the flow of oxygen, and how to adjust the mask to properly fit your face. Before the end of the demonstration, a very important announcement is made.
You should always put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. Even if you’re traveling with children. Even if you’re traveling with your loved one. Even if you’re sitting with a complete strange who is struggling to get their mask. You should always put on your own oxygen mask before you put on your own.
I never really thought much of this simple instruction until a spin instructor brought it up during a class. Put on your own oxygen mask first, she said. And this really struck a chord with me. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can assist others.
Why? Because, to be blunt, if you pass out from lack of oxygen, what good are you to anyone else?
In our current culture of more is more, this is a difficult concept to grasp. We glorify being busy. We praise those who overschedule and overstretch themselves. We outsource things like grocery shopping, housekeeping, and laundry so that we can fit in more. And I’m not knocking it. I am not too proud to admit that I have bi-monthly house cleanings. It is a glorious luxury that I consider to be essential to my well-being.
But when we let go of these things, these basic adulting tasks, what are we replacing them with? Bubble baths, reading, and family time? Or are we replacing them with more...more projects at work, more 10K training sessions, more social gatherings that cause us anxiety?
How are you spending your “me” time? If the answer is that you are spending your “me” time doing something other than actually taking care of yourself, it may be time to re-evaluate. If you are not getting your flow of life-giving oxygen, how can you possibly give life-giving oxygen to anyone else?
You can’t pour from an empty cup. So, how do you refill and recharge?
It has taken me many years to develop an effective self-care routine. One that helps me replenish. One that is flexible enough to fit my needs and easy enough to be fool-proof.
If you don’t have a concrete self-care plan in place, I highly recommend start one. Write it down. Type it up. Post it on your fridge. Live by it.
Your self-care routine will likely be different that mine. Your needs are different, your priorities are different, your budget is different, and your life is different. I encourage you to really dig deep and write it all down. Get detailed. Get specific. Get ruthlessly selfish.
When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to go out and live our higher purpose. So, let go of guilt. Let go of shame. Let go of stigma. You are worth it and you deserve it.
Need a jumping off point? Here are my daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly self-care routines.
Tell me about your self-care routine in the comments below!
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