Traveling home on an airplane after Thanksgiving I took special notice to the attendant as she instructed us to put my oxygen mask on before help anyone else with theirs. In everyday life we can often endeavor to help others with their situations before we take inventory of our own needs. Often we should ask, what is going on in our own life. Often we find it so easy to keep putting self-care off-easy that is, until we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, and suddenly don't have the energy to care for the people who count on us. It is then that we begin to understand and visualize that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent; it's just plain practical.
One setback to this theory, of many, is in the process of putting you first often mean that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself. For many of us, there is always something we feel we could be doing for someone else, and others who know you sometimes might take advantage of your willingness. Be aware, but not insensitive, that solving others situations could lead to massively time consuming acts, and so many personal, professional and family goals sit waiting for some free time.
Have you ever heard the statement, “I always have the suggestion or answer for others, yet I personally get stuck without my own solutions”? How can I make some small gesture where I put myself first every day? A great prescription might be a small, daily rituals; for example, taking one half-hour for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to meditate, journal, or just be. You might also transform the occasional daily shower or bath into a half-hour self-pampering session.
So is caring for others a bad thing?
Of course not, just remember to put your oxygen mask on first.
By doing so, you will be more capable and creative to help others.