How often do you take time to do the things which truly replenish you? The kind of things which leave you feeling both relaxed and revived; less stressed and more energised? We all have different things which make us just feel better. For me it’s my yoga and meditation practice, going for a walk or curling up for a read and a big old cup of tea. Maybe you like to have a nap, do a crossword or stick on some tunes and dance like no-one’s watching! After taking the time to do ‘my’ things, I never feel worse, never think ‘I wish I hadn’t done that’. I feel balanced and able to handle whatever life throws at me with a little more grace. I feel good about taking that time for myself because I know it makes me a nicer person to be around; kinder, more patient, and more efficient. Yet I meet a lot of people – parents in particular – who say that they feel guilty if they take time to nourish themselves; see prioritising themselves as selfish; see taking time to relax as being lazy.
During the safety briefing on planes which you ignore because you’ve heard it 400 million times before (come on, yes you do), they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. You’re not much use to anyone if you can’t breathe yourself – in fact you’re just going to collapse and make matters worse, not better.
Same same but different, no?
Are you really that much use to your family, your colleagues, your partner and friends when you’re tired, irritable and stressed? They’re don’t get the best of you when you’re like that. When we don’t take care of our own needs, we sell everyone short. If you take a little time each day – whether it’s ten minutes here and there or an hour just for you – to do what you know makes you feel better, you can meet life head-on with a smile on your face. You respond intelligently to situations rather than reacting – there’s a crucial difference – and are more resilient when things get challenging. You don’t snap at people and then feel bad and have to make amends.
If you really want to make a positive difference to the people around you, take a little time today to do something just for you. Put on your own oxygen mask first, then you really can help others!