Don't Wait Until You Have To Put Your Mask On - Fill Your Tank Every Day
By the time my butt hit my office chair this morning… honestly… I was looking up for the oxygen mask to come falling from the ceiling.
It’s pretty common to use the phrase ‘put your own mask on first’ as a way of celebrating or promoting paying attention to your self-care. But think about it... ‘put your own mask on first’… is an emergency response strategy to a pending disaster.
Why do we women, predominantly, wait until we are free falling full speed toward the earth before we think to care for ourselves?
This blog is as much for you as it is for me, as I clearly need a bit of self-coaching on practicing my own self-care.
For me, summer is always intense. Intense fun and adventure from increased social activities, holidays and just doing way more things outside. It also brings intense pressure as I juggle all the extras of a a family of four's active summer-time life. All this, while trying to keep up the pace as a solopreneur and not let my business focus slip (See my blog about maintaining your business focused as an expression of self-care HERE).
It is only July 10th, and already, I can feel the pressure of the dog days of summer taking their toll.
Time to tune into my own self-care
Self-care is 'any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health'. Although it’s a simple concept, in theory, it’s something we very often overlook, particularly when life gets messy.
In the heat of summer, when on the surface we are having a lot of fun going, going, going, it is really easy to ignore that niggling voice of “I just need a bit of down time, I need to be alone, I need a bath…etc.
What is your inner voice telling you today?
The impact of ignoring our own self-care, can be anything from yelling out of control at the kids or your partner, to insomnia, extreme fatigue, headaches, anxiety or depression.
Self-care is simply the practice of consistently doing small activities that fill up your tank. Refining a practice of self-care is about long-term well being, not short-term pleasure.
How do you do self-care?
First and foremost, listen to your body, (physically, emotionally and spiritually).
Hear and heed the soft rumble of your inner voice before it becomes crashing thunder. When you hear your mental dialogue say “I just need…but I just can’t…
STOP, LISTEN and ACT in your own favor!
What are self-care activities?
Do anything that refuels you and brings you a feeling of balance and inner joy.
During peak times of high intensity and energy flow, like that of summer, consider some of these practices:
Be mindful in the moment. Use simple tasks as an opportunity to slow down. Like when you are doing dishes: notice the temperature of the water, the direction of the scrub brush, the smell of the dish soap. When you slow down to notice the sensations of the experience you root yourself in the present and your mental strain is reduced.
Get some rest. I find that in the summer sleep is a commodity. I give you, inspired woman, permission to nap. The key to waking up refreshed from a nap is all about timing. 20 minutes is what the experts prescribe. So lie down - guilt free - and get that butt up after 20 minutes to reap the benefits of improved alertness, enhanced performance, and a better mood.
Have alone time – preferably in your home Time alone where you can do whatever fuels you up: play, create, dance, read, journal or nap, etc., is to be desired!
Safeguard Your Boundaries Just because something is going to be fun – it will not necessarily restock your tank. Even if that water-skiing adventure sounds like a complete hoot, clearly assess whether it balances out against lost sleep, quiet restoration or some other self-care need.
It is OK to say NO to the fun stuff too.
Caring for yourself helps you to feel strong, healthy and confident. It gives you the energy to show up and make a difference in the world.
Choose one or two self-care practices today and commit to them as you navigate the summer months. Incorporating self-care into your daily routine is a positive first step in your personal leadership. Avoid having to put your own mask on first!