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Self-Care 101: Why it's important to put on your air mask first, before helping others.

A while back my therapist started using the term Self Care. At first I was like, "what?"

I shower, I brush my teeth, comb my hair and occasionally paint my toes. Isn’t that taking care of myself? What is she talking about? What does that mean? And why?

I finally asked, “Ok, please tell me exactly what you mean by self care?”

Oftentimes, we are taught that taking time for ourselves or valuing our needs is SELFISH.

She explained to me with an airplane analogy. You know the part we ignore where the attendant does that whole demo with the seatbelt?

They always finish with:

“Please remember to put on YOUR air mask FIRST, before helping children or other people.”

THAT'S self care.

HOW?

If we’re unable to breath because of the change in oxygen pressure we aren’t in a good position to effectively function or help others with their oxygen mask.

AND

If we are unable to breath because of the chaos of life’s pressures, we aren’t really in a good state to function day to day. Simply put, if we're not taking care of ourSELF, it’s impossible to be present for our lives, our loved ones, our passions and our responsibilities.

Self care is about giving yourself room to breathe so that you can exist with the needed energy to LIVE your life without feeling like you’re drowning. It’s allowing yourself to slow down and spend some time alone on YOUR life raft to do nothing or figure stuff out. It’s understanding that you are not responsible for keeping everyone else’s ship afloat.

I understand the challenge of slowing down. I spent a good portion of my life with a tank that ran on a quarter to half of gas. And it eventually caught up with both my spirit and my physical health. It’s not pretty when this happens!

Figuring out this whole self-care thing was a big piece of how I learned to get my tank flowing again.

That being said, when this term was first thrown at me, I had NO clue where to begin. After some discussion we started by narrowing it down to one simple question:

“What do I need in this moment?”

It seems so simple and obvious - but I had never really focused on that.

I had become really adept at putting others agendas in front of mine, not knowing how to listen to my own brain and battling anxiety which tends to cloud my thoughts.

So to be honest, in the beginning, I didn’t even know how to answer the question!

The start for me was noticing that if I couldn’t find the answer it usually meant that

  • my brain was in overwhelm and the solution was as simple as allowing myself to slow the heck down.
  • Self Care in that moment was clearing something off my schedule
  • Self Care in that moment was taking a minute to chill and check in
  • Self Care was also noticing my physical needs, like fatigue, hunger, dehydration or if needed some body movement or was I holding my breath.

Self-Care doesn’t have to be a full on spa day or a week in the Bahamas. :)

That was my step 1, understanding WHAT self care is, WHY it’s important and HOW to begin to incorporate it into my life

Stay tuned for Part 2......

Why has it become SUCH a big old buzz word nowadays?

What are some things we can do to cultivate it in our personal habits?

Til Next Time.

Sending you Much Love, Light, Self Love, Self Care and many blessings.

Meredith

All site content © 2018 Meredith Blis. Header photo by Jon Karr. Be your own kind of beautiful.