I was recently traveling on an airplane to Dallas and during the safety overview at the beginning of the flight, they always say “be sure to secure your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.” As I think back on this year, I realize just how true that phrase is.
If I could have a do-over from 2014, it would be to take more time for self-care. Taking time to re-energize, whether that be reading, yoga, exercising, sleep, even taking time to play in the kitchen and try a new recipe from my ever growing stack, is pretty much the dead last priority of my day, if it even happens at all. In full transparency, there is a part of me that feels like taking time for self-care is selfish, which is constantly in conflict with another part of me that reminds me how important it is to fill my own tank. It’s that whole head-heart disconnect.
I KNOW that it is very important for each of us to take time to recharge, to mentally unwind and invest time in our own personal interests and hobbies. If a weary, overwhelmed friend was sitting across the table from me, I would adamantly encourage that person to do something that would refuel them, to make time to relax and to not at all feel guilty about it—and I would mean every word I say. So why is it so challenging for me to give myself that same advice?
I once read this quote somewhere that said: “We judge others by their actions, but ourselves by our intentions.” The more I process that statement, the more I believe it to be so very true. I really do have every intention of making time to exercise, read, or just unplug in general, but this past year I fell miserably short when actually putting it in action. I put more emphasis on DOING instead of simply BEING. I was driven by my to-do list, thinking there is always “one more thing” I can get crossed off. And after clipping along at this pace, I’m just plain tired.
So, now what? I need to make self-care a habit. I need to make filling my own tank a priority—even if it means having to schedule it on my calendar. I need to be willing to walk away from the to-do list and say “that’s enough for today.” And to make sure these intentions actually get put into action, I realize that I want and need someone to hold me accountable. Thankfully, a couple of my closest friends, along with an incredible woman from my church mentoring me, have all individually already called me out on this, and I’m confident that they will lovingly kick me in the pants and hold me to it.
I’m a big believer that reflection is a necessary part of personal growth and improvement. Reflection shouldn’t be about the guilt trip, but more about recognizing the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and committing to doing it better the next time around. I’ve learned the hard way that running on an empty tank is not very fun, and I’m grateful for a new year to be intentional about recharging myself on a consistent basis. What habits will you commit to changing in 2015? I’d love to hear your story!
This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.
Today's prompt: Mulligan. We've put another quarter in the slot – free play! Hit the reset button on a moment this year: what would you do over? Whether or not you analyze your actions – how would you act differently? Would the outcomes shift, or stay the same? From a single sentence to a whole day (and everything in-between), feel free to explain your choice, from how you felt immediately after the moment passed, to any thoughts that ran through your mind beforehand. Take a mulligan!"