I was speaking to a group last week about the importance of volunteering – why you should do it and how to get others to volunteer with you (or for you). While preparing my remarks, I stumbled across a package of cups I bought with a friend many years ago that say “Stop me before I volunteer again!”
We can laugh about that because we know it’s funny (even if it is true), but deep down we all know I won’t stop volunteering – neither will you…it’s not “who we are.” But just remember this – the only way you can continue to give to others is if you take time to care for yourself first.
Remember when the attendant on your last flight reminded you to put YOUR oxygen mask on first before helping someone traveling with you? If you’re like me you always think that’s just a little bit weird…but there’s a reason for it. Experts tell us if we begin to lose oxygen on a plane, we may become disoriented or even unable to recognize familiar faces. It is imperative that we care for ourselves first in that situation if we expect to be any help at all to those around us.
Life is a lot like that, isn’t it? We are nurturers by trade. We are the “rock” of our family or the “dependable one” in our office or even the “go to” mom in the school. This means when we fail to care for our personal needs, we aren’t the only ones who suffer.
Don’t neglect yourself and your needs. If you’re gasping for breath or barely hanging on, you’re of no use to anyone at all. There are so many things, even little things, we can do to help ourselves…going to bed earlier, eating healthier, finding some quiet time, even just being honest with ourselves and those around us. (How many times have you said “I’m fine!” when you are far from it??)
Will you join me this summer to commit to doing more for yourself – wait for it – WITHOUT feeling guilty about it!!?? It’s not going to be easy…trust me… but I’ll try if you will.
Because we both deserve it.
Go ahead-put on YOUR oxygen mask. I’ll wait…