If you have ever flown on a plane, you have probably had to sit through their safety presentation. If you were paying attention, you may remember the part where they talk about the oxygen masks. Every time, they say that if you are traveling with a child, first secure your own mask, then assist the child. This may seem counterintuitive to may people, as we are used to putting our children first. Most of us wear many hats. We are partners, mothers, daughters, professionals, and much more. Many of those roles put us in the position of care-giver. For a good number of us, we are so used to putting others first, that we forget to think about ourselves. Not only is this a disservice to ourselves, but it is also a disservice to those we care for.
This post focuses on why self-care is so important. The reason we are instructed to put our own oxygen mask on first and then assist our children is that we cannot be the best care-providers for others unless we are taking care of ourselves. Once you get your own oxygen mask on, you will be better able to assist others. So it is in life. Once you begin to take care of yourself, you may notice that it becomes easier to take care of others.
When we don't practice good self-care, we tend to be stressed out, sore, and both physically and emotionally exhausted. This can affect our interactions with others. When we are not feeling well, we become irritable and distracted. This can lead to angry words and actions that you don't mean and a lot of hurt feelings. Stress can also manifest physically, creating dis-ease. Many physical conditions that people receive medical treatment for such as high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal trouble, muscle strain and weakness, and many more can be traced back to stress, meaning that self-care can not only make you happier, it will also make you healthier.
Once you begin your self-care regimen, you may notice that you have more energy, experience less pain, have more patience, have more time, and have a more positive outlook.
How to do Self-Care
It is easy to tell yourself and others that you will start to take care of yourself, but it can be a little bit hard getting started. Those of us who are not used to making time for ourselves may find the task daunting so here are a few basic guidelines for starting a self-care routine
Looking for some ideas? Try these:
What is your favorite way to practice self-care? Leave your suggestions in the comments!
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.