Earlier this week, I was reading an article about parenting – not because I have children, but because it happened to be the magazine that was sitting on the table near me and it was quite an interesting read. The advice went beyond parenting into general life tips, such as reduce tech-time, focus on one thing at a time, have a bit of routine, and put on your oxygen mask.
The last heading made me almost do a double take. “Um what the? Oxygen mask?” And then I thought about where else I had heard about oxygen masks. It’s the same thing they tell you when you are on a plane.
Put your own mask on first, then you will have what you need to help others. Without it, you’ll both flounder around.
So I ask you – are you wearing your oxygen mask?
Every day there times where you will need to help someone else. It could be your children, your spouse or partner, a friend, or a boss. If you are at work, you are helping people all day long. Now think about how hard it is when you don’t take care of you first.
– You haven’t eaten and you are starving
– You’ve been eating cheap take-out (not the good kind) and shoveling it down just to not be hungry
– You haven’t moved your body in weeks, other than the walk to and from your car and desk
– You are stressed to the max and things keep piling up
– You have had ZERO alone time or chance to blow off steam
– You are out of touch, out of steam, and stressed to the max. In a word, you feel terrible.
If you feel terrible, your work and your life can, and probably will, suffer. When I get hungry, and don’t eat, I go straight to Hangry (hungry+angry). Sounds funny, but it can be quite awful. Sometimes it even sends me into moments of frustration, tears, and anxiety because I’m not sure what I am so upset about. If I get stressed or don’t have time to move my body kindly, I get overwhelmed, my digestion plummets, and I suffer from stomach aches and weight gain. When I don’t have enough time alone, I get frazzled and anxious.
It may seem a bit crazy, but it is something that comes with awareness and taking care of you. I know I need all of these things, because I have spent time trying to figure out why I felt certain ways. If I move my body, eat well, and find time to sit alone, read a book, go for a walk, or even watch a TV show, I feel better and these issues don’t pop up. I have energy and am better able to do my work, spend time with loved ones, and maintain health all around
When I take care of myself, and put on my own oxygen mask, I feel good and am able to help others and achieve more each day.
Here are 3 Ways to Regain Some Oxygen and Take Care of You:
– Eat Like You Mean It: Not eating can make you hungry, but it can also cause your focus to drop, your internal systems to go haywire, and your productivity to plummet. You know how when you are hungry and feel blah, you end up reading article on Yahoo!, stalking old friends on Facebook, and drift into the world of Pinterest? Eating and talking a break will help you break this habit, so you have time to do it when you are finished your task at hand. Take a break to eat at least 3 times a day. This isn’t time lost. It is time you are reworking so you can focus better and be more efficient the rest of the day.
– Shake Your Groove Thing: Get up and move on a regular basis. Not moving can cause tension, stiffness, and a lack of energy and concentration. You don’t have to move all day, and it is ok to sit sometimes. Moving constantly and standing all day can be just as detrimental as sitting all day. The joy is to have at least one moment of movement each day, whether it is gentle stretching to release tension from the day, or an intense workout to get rid of pent up energy. Find something that fits your schedule and that you look forward to doing. Movement is about balancing your energy and releasing tension. It is not a punishment. Movement should be enjoyed and a way to treat your body. The more you move, the more you’ll enjoy moving and you’ll want to add small moments of movement throughout your day. Go for it and enjoy it!
– Go Your Own Way: Take a few moments each day to do something that is just for you. You might take 5 minutes to meditate or read a book, or you might schedule a pedicure or workout. Your thing might be meeting up with friends to grab a post-work drink or lunch while the kids are at school. Whether short or more time-consuming, these moments help you reconnect to you, which can often get lost in the shuffle or work, relationships, kids, and adult-life. When you reconnect to yourself, you are able to find a little peace and clarity and shed some stress. Go for as much as you need to find a good balance in your life.
Where in your life are you lacking your oxygen mask? Think about which key piece you are missing. What is one thing you can do today to breathe easier in order to help others? Leave it in the comments below.
And if you are looking for a little more, the Flourish Video Series is underway, with Week One’s Video and Bonuses ready for you. As we move through the next few weeks, we’ll focus on even more material to help you “Put on Your Oxygen Mask”, but you’ll need to join the Flourish newsletter to get the weekly password. This week’s video is posted, but the following week’s will only be available through password.