"Don't water your weeds." - Harvey Mackay
When you are creating your perfectly confident life, it’s important that you learn to take extremely good care of yourself – physically, mentally and spiritually – and to always put your best interests first. There is a good reason why airlines instruct passengers who travel with small children to put their own oxygen mask on in an emergency and only then put a mask on the child. It may seem counter-instinctual since we are all conditioned by evolution and culture to risk our own life to save the life of a small child. This is a good and natural instinct as it helps to ensure the continuation of our species. That is the bigger picture. In the smaller, more immediate picture, it is in both your best interest and that of the child for you to put your own oxygen mask on first. Why? Imagine that you followed your natural instinct and put the oxygen mask on your two-year old son first before attempting to fasten your own. Before you can attend to your mask, the lack of oxygen overcomes you and you pass out. Now, you have no mask and your child has no one to comfort and continue to look after him. Imagine instead, that you first put on your mask, and then put an oxygen mask on your son. If he has passed out the oxygen will revive him and now you are both conscious and your child has you to continue to comfort and protect him during the emergency.
This is an extreme case example but the principle is the same whether you are on that plane or safe in your home. Telling your child that mommy or daddy needs 20 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time to take a bubble bath is not neglecting your child. Rather, it is practicing extreme self-care. Just as there was a larger benefit to the child on the airplane to being second in line for an oxygen mask (continued protection and comfort from you) there is a benefit to your child, children, husband, wife, friends, etc. of you practicing extreme self-care in your everyday life. That benefit is a happier, healthier, more focused you. Rather than begrudgingly or grumpily spending time with your family when what you really need is a half hour alone to unwind after a tough day at work or at home, take the half hour for yourself. Read, journal, go for a bike ride, take a relaxing bath, whatever will make you feel better. Then you can spend time with your family in a happy and healthy mood. Your family would rather spend one hour of joy with you feeling great than two mediocre or tense hours with you wishing you had a moment to yourself.
You may not need quiet time every single day, or maybe you do. Identify what you need to feel your best and then give yourself the gift of yourself. Ask the older kids to watch the younger ones, or ask your spouse to watch them all, and take a stroll after dinner. Combine your quiet time with an easy task and take the dog with you. Enlist your family into the process. Everyone might like a quiet hour before or after dinner or reading time before bed. There are many ways to take extremely good care of you. Take a whole day once a month to be alone or ten minutes every day. Whatever works for you.
To get started, make a list of the top one to ten activities you would like to include in your day as part of your self-care. I like to call these your Delicious Daily Habits. Once you have your list, start to incorporate these things into your life on a daily basis. Then sit back and see your spirits rise. Here are examples of some possible delicious daily habits to kick-start your imagination. Choose from this list or invent your own unique habits. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by starting with one self-care change each day or week and keep building momentum until taking extremely good care of yourself is second nature to you.
Talk to your mom
Play with your cat/dog
Spend time in nature
Swim, dance, move your body
Read a great novel.
Be creative in finding ways to make your self care a priority.