Looking Out For #1

No Shame in Looking Out For #1

We are taught to take care of other’s needs before our own.  The thought of “looking out for #1” or taking care of ourselves is a BAD thing.  This is why we need to be reminded on airplanes to put on our OWN oxygen mask FIRST.  Taking care of other’s needs first is so normal for us, that in the event of an emergency on a plane, we need to be reminded to OVER-RIDE this instinct to care for others first.

In the situation where you need to get oxygen on a plane, you need to put our own mask on FIRST because if you don’t do that, you may pass out.  When you are passed out, you won’t be able to help anyone.  By putting your own mask on FIRST, you make sure that your needs are getting met (in this case, oxygen) so that you can then focus on helping others.

The Problem:

Many people (especially women) get so focused on taking care of other people that they continually push the “snooze” button on helping themselves.  This is ok to do occasionally – I mean, we all have responsibilities and things that happen in our daily lives that make it challenging for us to get everything that we need, all of the time.  When our needs are not getting met on a consistent basis, we start to shut down.  We tune out others around us and try to do only the bare minimum that is required of us.  We are tired.  We are cranky.  We feel depleted and unfulfilled.  We find that there is little joy in our lives.

The Solution:

Fixing this is easy and it only requires you to do 3 things each week.

  1. Self-Care – find what you need to do for yourself in order to take care of YOU.  For some people, this is working out.  For some, it’s 5 minutes of quiet time away from the kids.  Whatever you need to make sure you do for YOURSELF to help restore your body and soul.  Make a list of these things so you know when you’re feeling depleted what you can do in the time that you have available to help boost you.  Make a commitment to yourself to do these things regularly.
  2. Schedule Your Needs – The things that you mentioned in #1 are often things that we let slide.  We often let our self-care needs slide because we don’t get them on our calendars and into our schedules.  Make sure that you are scheduling the things that you need to do for YOU, just as you would for anyone else.
  3. Do What Makes You Happy – I’m just gonna say it.  We don’t always get to do things that we love.  We have obligations.  Life happens and we have to deal with sad/upsetting/frustrating things that do not make us happy.  The key here is to make sure that in addition to all of the things that you are required to do, that you are also taking time each week do to something that you love, that feeds your spirit.  Without doing things that make you happy, you will find that it is easier to become depleted, depressed and detached from others.

When we are looking out for our own needs, scheduling them to make sure they get met and doing things that make us happy, we are better able to connect with those around us.