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Do you ever leave the house with the feeling that you’re forgetting…something?

That nagging feeling where you know there is something you’re supposed to be doing, but you just can’t place your finger on it. The kids are fed, the coffee maker is turned off, you’ve gotten your presentation to your boss, you’ve picked up your husband’s prescription for him while you were getting groceries…

What it is? What are you forgetting?

Oh. Food. Right. You forgot to eat.

…and come to think of it…underwear. You forgot to put those on today.

…and is your shirt on inside out? How long as it been like that?

How is it that we can navigate soccer practices, business deadlines, finances, and meal planning – but somehow forget to supply ourselves with basic nutrition, mental health breaks, or heck, properly clothe ourselves? Why is it that we have such a hard time taking care of ourselves?

Well, the simple answer is guilt. We’ve all felt it. We are often the care takers, the schedule makers, and the logistic masters of our homes, taking care of everyone else but ourselves. We’re often conditioned to the idea that any time spent on ourselves and not spent on our children, our marriages, or our jobs is time we have stolen from other more ‘deserving’ recipients.

Ladies, we’ve GOT to stop this.

Think back to the safety demonstration on a plane. When the oxygen mask falls from the ceiling, what are you directed to do? Are you supposed to run around placing masks on everyone around you? No. You are supposed to fix the mask to YOUR face first. Why?

Because you are absolutely no help to anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.

So, with that in mind, let’s take the first three steps in knocking out the guilt and bringing in the self care.

1. Create your “me” time.

Start small, it might feel weird at first. Maybe it is a bubble bath. Perhaps it is a five minute siesta. It could even be a walk around the neighborhood alone. Take five minutes and make them five minutes for no one other than you. Build it up. Perhaps going to the salon and getting a manicure. Or going to the library and reading quietly. Eventually start creating larger pockets of time for yourself, like booking a massage or going to a movie. I took up exercise in order to get my quota of ‘me’ time. When I’m exercising, I am not Mom. I am not Business Owner. I am Me. And I am available for no one other than myself.

2. Become your best advocate.

Your family loves you. They want you to be happy. They just might not know what that looks like completely right now. If you have allowed your guilt to keep you from expressing what you need, they might not realize that you need time to yourself. Your needs can only be met if you make them known – that goes for your family and yourself.

You have to be able to advocate for yourself by telling your family of your needs. If everyone in the family wants to go get pizza but you really don’t want to go out that night, you don’t need to suffer quietly. It is quite likely that once your family knows that you want to stay in, they’ll happily adjust or compromise on their plans. You can’t expect your needs to be tended to if you don’t make them known. Be your best ally.

3. Remember the mask.

Whenever I become overwhelmed, I visualize the oxygen mask on the plane. If I want the absolute best for my children, then I owe it to them and myself to be at my very best. I have had to learn to let go of the guilt and the fear of rejection from my family and my clients in order to be the best I can for all of them. Making myself a priority in my life is not an act of selfishness, but rather a gift to myself and those around me, because I can only be at my best if I treat myself in the best way possible.

Ask yourself, what is one small kindness you can show to yourself today? What can you do to be a happier you? And most importantly, are you ready to put the mask on yourself and be the strongest you that you can be?

I think it is high time you found out.

I’d love to know what you think about making yourself a priority. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts! And don’t forget to share this with anybody else that could use this message.

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