Does anyone ever listen to the flight attendant spiel anymore? You know, the one where they show you how to buckle up and how to get out in case of an emergency? They always make that statement about the oxygen mask: “Adults traveling with children, please secure your own oxygen mask first, before assisting children.”
Photo credit: Shot with Love by Heather
I always thought that was a little weird. To me, all adults first instinct should be to help their child. And as a mom, now I know that it is. But I can’t help my baby if I haven’t helped myself first. There are times when as parents, caregivers, or just compassionate people it is easier and more instinctual to take care of others’ needs first, placing our own necessities on the back-burner. But you can only do that for so long before it takes its toll. It’s easy to feel guilty about taking time or money for yourself, but by putting on my oxygen mask first I can make sure to be an emotionally and physically healthy mom to my daughter.
Here are a few ways I put myown oxygen mask on first:
1. Rising early–I wish I was better at this, but taking a few moments to orient myself to the day with a little extra morning time is such a huge benefit to me emotionally. When I sleep in I feel rush and harried and distracted. Even getting up 15 minutes earlier gives me time to get the coffee going and think about what’s on tap for the day.
2. Moving purposefully–While I don’t LOVE getting up to work out I always feel awesome afterwards! Challenging my body physically is good for my spirit too! I love that accomplished feeling of knowing I pushed myself and have already checked a big item off my to-do list for the day. Find a way of moving that you love and do it!
3. Fueling nutritiously–Of course eating healthy is important. We all know that. I think the hard part is that the negative effects of our poor food choices don’t happen right away. Last week I started my day by eating (a really, really good) cinnamon roll for breakfast. That led to a doughnut from the office for a mid-morning snack, a dessert bar for lunch, and cheesecake for dinner. Whoa! That one choice led to a sugar-craving, carb-loading kind of day where my stomach physically hurt and I had a headache. Ugh! You can’t teach your children healthy habits you don’t have. With childhood obesity and diabetes on the rise modeling health to our children is vital! It’s not rocket science: more fruits and veggies, less cookies, chips, and soda; more home-cooked meals (slow cookers, freezers and simple food is your friend) and less drive through dinners.
4. Supplementing intentionally–Supplements are something I didn’t think about for a while. I sometimes took a multivitamin, but that was about it. About 3 years ago I was really having a hard time with digestive issues and one thing I started doing was taking a probiotic. It was life-changing! Seriously something I wish I would have done sooner. I still take a probiotic and the nice folks at Align Probiotics were nice enough to send me a month’s supply of their product to try. I love that it comes in a weekly package and without going into the details, it worked really well! Align Probiotics works by fortifying your digestive system with healthy bacteria 24/7.* I can always feel the difference between when I’m taking a probiotic or not.
4. Relaxing regularly–You need you time! Schedule that hair appointment, pedicure or massage! Maybe walk around Barnes and Noble by yourself browsing books. Make date night an actual thing. Nate and I try to get away on our own every two weeks or so…yes, it’s hard, yes it’s expensive (babysitter+dinner+activity), but it is SO worth it! And when you go on your date, remember to talk! Limit cell phones and other distractions while you are out connecting with each other! Don’t forget to have friend time too! Long chats, small groups, one-on-one coffee dates, or full tilt girls night outs–all are good for you and one way you can model healthy relationships, communication, and FUN to your kids!
5. Realigning spiritually–Take some time at some point during your day and realign spiritually. For me, that is reading my Bible, praying, meditating, and listening to God. I also sometimes do a bit of journaling. For you it may be meditation or yoga or keeping a thankfulness journal or even listening to a joyful song. Keep your heart open and connected to God, so when those stressful moments come you can find your peace and joy in Him!
Bottom line: don’t neglect yourself while taking care of others. It is okay to do these things for YOU! The flip side is when you make putting on your oxygen mask a priority and you will find you have more to give! If you’re interested in giving Align Probiotics a try head to Target and save 15% on Align Probiotic products using Target’s Cartwheel app. (Offer ends 7/19)
*with continued daily use.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.