Boomer Authority™

I have a girlfriend whose voice mail message always reminds one to stop and take a deep breath. I sometimes hope she doesn’t answer just so that I’m reminded to stop for just a moment and think about myself, and breathe…

While traveling, it’s common to hear announcements made by the flight attendants before take off. The flight attendant reminds us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. This advice is often cited as an example of taking care of ourselves, because it so wisely explains why it is important. It basically says that if you can’t take care of yourself for yourself, do it for others. Rarely in our daily lives do we think that anything “will happen to me” so it’s easy to keep putting off taking care of yourself. Until we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, and suddenly don’t have the energy to care for the people who count on us. That’s when we realize we haven’t been “getting the oxygen” we need to sustain ourselves. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves pretty practical.

Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else. Most of us think there is always something we could be doing for someone else, and it helps to remember the oxygen metaphor. Encourage yourself by saying “I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others”. Make it a daily, affirmation so that it becomes a habit. It also helps to remember that self-care doesn’t have to be huge time-consuming acts. In fact, the best prescription for taking care of yourself is probably small, daily rituals; for example, taking one half-hour for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to meditate, journal, or just be. Think about what gives you pleasure and reward yourself. Be it listening to music, taking a long bubble bath, or just simply sitting quietly catching up on a good book, take the time out. Whatever you decide, making some small gesture where you put yourself first every day will bring you more energy, focus and rewards for you and the ones you love. The oxygen you need is all around you; sometimes you just need to be reminded to breathe.

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