Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Remember to Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

If you've ever traveled on an airplane you've received the speech about safety in the event of an emergency. If you haven't here's the Cliffnote version...in the event that the cabin's air supply should become compromised oxygen masks will drop from above over your seat. You need to give it a firm tug and place the elastic around your head and the mask securely over your nose and mouth. Proceed to breath normally. (umm sure that will happen) They also emphasize that if you are traveling with a small child or someone who would need assistance to make sure you put your mask on first and then help them. The first time I heard this speech I thought well that seems a bit selfish...then I realized...if you can't breath and pass out you can't help others. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.


Umm so here's where the true confessions come in...I am HORRIBLE at self care. I don't just mean kinda sorta bad but horrible. I can take care of everyone else. I am the eternal cheerleader and cheer-upper to others but not to myself. I really realized this in 2012 when J was gone to Japan, two dear friends died two months apart, and my dear co-worker who I share office coverage with was out on and off for the better part of 6 months due to illness, her husband dying, injury, and oh yeah illness again. The poor woman couldn't catch a break. So I was covering everything at home, taking on lots of extra work at work, helping a dear friend go through a horrible break-up from a complete and total jerk the love of her life for the third time, and really ignoring myself. 

I'm not complaining. I made my choices and I lived with them. I enjoy helping others, I enjoy taking care of others, I enjoy filling in as needed, I really do so for me it wasn't like I was miserable. Or so I thought...here's where the rubber hits the road for me...in hindsight I realized I was so busy helping others that my life, my health, and my sanity were spiraling downward. My house was a disaster and I mean a disaster as in it is amazing that I didn't end up hurt or something from my house, I gained weight, at night after work I'd stop by a fast food restaurant and get dinner, then go home and sit in front of the TV with the dogs, go up to bed, and start the cycle over. 

Since January of this year I have been working very hard at taking better care of myself. I joined a gym, I started meal planning, I got back to beading and sewing, and I've been trying to take time away from work for myself. Wow even as I type that I laugh because with the grand opening of our new addition I've been working more and not doing a great job of taking time off. But I will say this...my house is mostly clean, I've been trying to stay on track with meal planning, and I've been trying to get to the gym. But I think my most important thing for 2013 has been that I'm aware of my needs and taking care of myself in the midst of the chaos. I take time to get my hair done, get a manicure, soak in the hot tub, etc to relax and refresh. It makes my day/week better when I do.

So take time to take care of you before you take care of others. Because if you are worn out and tired it is hard to take care of others. Especially as we enter the hectic holiday season it is important to focus on yourself some too.