It's All About Me | Putting No1. First
You know when you are on a flight, listening to the emergency instructions before you take off? The announcement recites something similar to, “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will be released from above you…” and so on. You are always instructed to fasten your own mask before helping children. In a real life, panic-fuelled, emergency situation you may think “get the child oxygen first!” But, if you pass out from lack of oxygen while you are fluffing around trying to sort out their mask, that child is less likely to be able to help you out of that situation, and then you’re both of out oxygen. This is the reason why putting No1 first is so important. (By the way, you are No1!)
You are no help to others if you don’t help yourself first.
At the beginning of April, I decided to dedicate the whole month to myself. I said to myself, April is all about me! I recognised that I hadn’t been looking after myself as well as I should be. I’d been spending a lot of time doing things for others, and not a lot of time focussing on myself. I knew how important alone time was for my health, so I decided to be politely selfish for the month of April and see how it made me feel.
Firstly, I decided to drink no alcohol. This not only helped with my health, but helped my bank account, and kept me from going out with my friends as much. Although I had some time off work during the month, I didn’t let myself sleep in too often. I got up at a reasonable time. I had my morning coffee, usually alone, without any distractions and let my mind wonder and relax before I started my day. I exercised 3-4 times a week. I tried my hardest to ignore the washing up, and instead, relaxed on the sofa with my book (anyone who knows me, knows just how hard this is for me!) I chose to watch less TV. I ended up reading 3 books in one month, which is an enormous effort for me. I spent a lot of time in silence. There was absolutely nothing lonely about the month for me. I learnt a lot about myself and I’m proud of my achievements.
Caring for you body
Exercise and good food are essential for self-care. Exercising and eating well will keep your mind more clear, your decision-making more effective, you’ll be more focused and you will have far more energy. It’s important to find what works for you though, as everyone is different. Just because everyone is practising yoga at the moment, doesn’t mean that is necessarily right for you. Don’t force yourself if it isn’t your thing, but do try to find ‘your thing.’ Personally, I hate going to gym classes, I don’t like exercising with groups of people. Everyone is slyly watching each other from the corners of their eyes, and I just don’t like it! What I do love is swimming. I can go to the pool, put my swimsuit on, my cap and my goggles. Suddenly I have a disguise and I almost feel like no one can see me. When I’m in the water, it’s just me and the water. I don’t have any music, I just put my head down and I swim. Swimming is ‘my thing’ – and the feeling I get when I’m leaving the pool is pure bliss. After my swim I know I have just cared for my body and my mind all at once.
Caring for your mind
Don’t do what you think you should do, do what you want to do! Caring for yourself is about listening to what your body wants and needs and just doing it. If you feel like you need a 5-minute break at work, go outside and get some fresh air. Your productivity after that break will be 10 times better than if you stayed at your desk and attempted to push through the pain. If your body is telling you to sleep, then sleep. If you don’t feel like socialising one weekend and you feel like cuddling up with a good book instead, then do it! If you feel like that glass of wine at dinner, then drink it. Everyone has their own needs. Know yourself and make decisions based on your highest values. A few weeks back, I had an exceptionally long, tiring week. So I decided not to join my friends out that weekend, even though we had made plans. I really value my sleep and health so I gave myself a break. But I also value my social life and my friends, so I kept in contact with them and told them I was just taking some time for myself.
Why should mothers put No1 first?