In my practice, I spend a lot of time with clients talking about the importance of self-care. Although it may seem to be a bit “on trend” right now, self-care (or as I prefer to label it, self-compassion) IS important.
Years ago, when I was a flight attendant, in the pre-flight safety demo we would say something to the effect of:
“In the event of a cabin depressurization, an oxygen mask will drop from the ceiling. Please put on your own mask before helping someone else.”
I ask clients, “Why do you suppose that the emphasis is placed on helping yourself first in an emergency situation? Don’t you think a parent would be inclined to help their child first? Or that many people would try to assist their spouse, partner, seatmate first?”
Invariably, my clients respond that as a parent, they wouldn’t be able to help their child if they are incapacitated.
When framed this way, it becomes easier to recognize that if WE can’t breathe, then we are no good to anyone else.
Our self-care is just like that oxygen mask. When I take care of myself, I am a better mom, partner, clinician, friend, etc…If I can’t breathe, I’m no good to anyone.
I’ve had a couple busy weeks and have recently neglected my self-care – especially when a round of flu in our house necessitated late nights and LOTS of laundry!
Now, I could have given up and decided that self-care wasn’t in the books for me but that would not have been very forgiving or self-compassionate.
I’m a country girl and we like to come up with solutions. So, I decided resiliency would be the word of the day and into the tub went the toddler bubbles.
And you know what? It was great.
Self-care can be like that.
We may plan a romantic evening with our partner but childcare falls through. Maybe a night out with your besties is in the works but there is a massive snowstorm.
Life happens. It’s how we regroup that matters.
If childcare falls through, then a picnic in the living room by candlelight after the kiddos are asleep. Snowstorm mess with the girls/guys night out? How about heading out into the yard to make snow angels?
I’m worth it – and so are you.