Put your own oxygen mask on first

Around October each year I’d be so happy that it was almost December.  It wasn’t because I was thinking about Christmas or long sunny days and fun times with friends and family (although I enjoy all of that!).  I was exhausted.  I mean really tired, burnt out, and in desperate need of a holiday which, thankfully, was now just 2 months away.

We race through life trying to cram as much as possible into a day.  From the time we get up until the time we go to bed there’s a gazillion things on our To Do list and stuff racing round in our heads.  We’re doing things for other people.  For friends, family, bosses and colleagues, and all the other people and groups we’re involved with.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy doing things for other people, but sometimes it can be overwhelming and exhausting.

I used to put off ‘me time’ - whether it was spending time reading a book, a weekend away, or just sitting down to eat my breakfast.  There never seemed to be time.  I spent long hours at work and said “yes” to more things than I could reasonably do in a week (and I’d be cramming them into a day).  Oh yeah, I had my superwoman cape on!

At some point, perhaps even now, you'll experience the consequences of the decisions you make about how you live your life.  Whether it’s your health and wellbeing, happiness, or relationships, something will suffer.  There may even be a significant event, a timely wake-up call.  I don’t say that to alarm you.  Well in a way I do, because you’re a gorgeous human being not a cape wearing super hero.  My wake-up call came in the form of a health scare.  I dropped the superwoman cape quick smart.  It wasn’t serving me at all. 

You can avoid feeling tired, burnt out and longing for the end of the year.  Put your own oxygen mask on first.  Okay, so you’re not literally going to put on an oxygen mask.  What we are going to do is talk about good self-care. 

Let me give you some real examples. These are tried and well-tested.  When my wake-up call came knocking, I sat up and took notice.  These are 4 things I focused on and they made a big difference to my life. 

  • Starting the day.  I have a morning routine that includes writing in my journal, exercising and drinking lemon water.  That routine helps me start the day feeling calm, happy and creative.  How do you start the day now and how does that make you feel? 
  • Health.  Take a look at your overall health, your eating habits, how well you sleep, and the exercise you do.  Are you putting off seeing a doctor, dentist, naturopath, massage therapist, a personal trainer, or any other health and wellbeing professional who could provide you with expert advice and support? 
  • Short breaks and holidays.  Do you pre-plan short breaks and holidays 6-12 months ahead?  You don’t have to plan every break, being spontaneous is oh so fun.  But how often do you get to the end of the year and realise you haven't had a short break or holiday?  Book some in so they actually happen! 
  • Priorities.  What are your priorities for the year, this month, week and today?  Use these to get clear about what you will and won't do.  You may need to say "no" to things.  That might be hard at first, but remember self-care is your priority. 

What does good self-care look like for you?  Choose 3 things you can do or put in place right now as part of your self-care. 

It’s not about making huge, radical changes overnight.  Small acts of self-care done consistently, each and every day, will keep your tank topped up.  Just like a car, you’ll run a whole lot better if you look after yourself.  Who wants to break down or run out of petrol! 

So, right here, right now give yourself permission to take care of yourself. 

Put your own oxygen mask on first and be amazed by the changes you notice.