Take Care Of Yourself First – It’s Important

take care of yourself firstContrary to popular or common opinion, to take care of yourself first or to practice self-care is not selfish, actually it is critically important. The bottom line is this… how can you take care of others if you are a rundown mess yourself?

One of my clients once told me his analogy for self-care that I absolutely loved. He said that it is just like being on an airplane when the oxygen masks drop. What does the flight attendant always say in the flight safety briefing? “If you are traveling with someone else make sure that your own mask is on first before helping them.”

After all, if you were to pass out from a lack of oxygen first… how could you help a child, your spouse, or the person sitting next to you if they need assistance… Take care of yourself first and put your mask on first.

Take Care Of Yourself First

To take care of yourself means that you value yourself and your overall health and well being first. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. If your tanks are empty, what can you give to someone else?

I had a client once who was the typical super mom who was there for her family and her partner 24×7, no matter what. Well, no matter what, began to take a huge toll on both her and her overall happiness in life, and instead of having quality interactions with those closest to her whom she loved deeply, no matter how hard she tried, those relationships began to fray around the edges.

And of course, my client who held herself to such high standards recognized this and became frustrated with not just “stuff” but also with herself for not doing more.

The solution… simple… get out of the house! Go have lunch with friends – sans children. Start exercising more and define and defend boundaries when it came to “me time.”

My client began doing these things and in just a matter of two to three weeks her life was back in much better balance.

I don’t think that we intentionally stop taking care of ourselves first, it is more like we just forget to and then when the issues arise we fail to see that not giving to ourselves before giving to others is the root cause. When we see that we are struggling or failing, we tend to put the blame on ourselves for not being enough rather than making sure that we are getting enough of what we need first. Then we may even try to overcompensate and actually make things worse for everyone!

Take care of yourself first by treating yourself with kindness instead of the harsh self-criticism that you/we are all so capable of doing. Make time for yourself! Indulge in your favorite hobbies or pet projects or just learn something new altogether to stimulate and refresh both your mind and your brain.

For the most part, nobody has an uncomplicated life anymore… we are constantly bombarded by the needs of others, family, work, friends, and even society, and most of us are always experiencing overwhelm to one degree or another, with our energies and focus constantly directed outward.

That’s just life in 2016, and when you feel that overwhelm or begin to feel depleted, remember to take care of yourself first or just like you are on a plane and the oxygen masks drop… remember to put yours on first.

Take care of yourself first – It’s important!

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten – 03 September 2006

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