If you've traveled on an airplane, you're familiar with the flight attendant saying "Please put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others." I imagine you've also heard this phrase used as a metaphor to brilliantly demonstrate the importance of self-care, prioritizing our own needs before others, in our everyday lives.
But I'm not sure we're convinced it's all that important. Intellectually, I know that when I take care of my own needs first, I'm able to offer my best to my family and friends, work and other pursuits. Plus, I can do this without depleting my own resources. However, sometimes my actions are out of alignment with this belief. I've skipped workouts to lend an ear to a friend who needs to talk, missed dinners to meet work deadlines and recently lost several hours of sleep ruminating about my niece's financial problems. My experience tells me I'm not alone and that self-care is often the exception rather than the rule. When I become aware that it's out of whack, it's a signal for me to get back to basics: eat healthfully, get some exercise and balance my time.
How are you taking care of yourself? What's one thing you can do today to put your own metaphoric mask on first?