The airplane analogy is often used. We need to put on our oxygen mask first, ahead of our loved ones, to be able to help them.
So how well do you look after you?
If you push on regardless it can become too much, you may find yourself unable to carry on in the same way.
I thought it timely that we take a moment to focus on ourselves. Yes, this is all about YOU, because you matter and when was the last time you focused on what you need?
Where are you now?
If you are reading this quickly before dashing off to do something else which needs to be ticked off the list. Stop, really take a moment. Sit quietly, slow the breathing down, turn off distractions (if possible) and tune into yourself. This requires a little bit of your precious time, some concentration, and honesty.
How are you feeling?
That’s a bit of a big question, so let’s break it down into three areas:
- Feeling low/depressed
I need a bit of busy in my life – I find I thrive on it (mostly) and it makes me feel alive. Some stress I find necessary to keep me focused and motivated. In those moments I’m saying yes to everything, I can take on the world. Suddenly something changes and a bit of stress tips into stressed out, over-committed, and overwhelmed.
On the flip side, if I find myself with not enough to do, that’s demotivating. The less I do the less I want to do until it drives me a bit bonkers, and I take action.
Be honest and work out where you are taking on too much and where you might want to put more energy instead.
This is a biggie. With recent and current life events, our world seems more worrying and anxiety-inducing than ever.
What’s normal for you?
Can you manage the level of worry and anxiety that you are experiencing, or it is stopping you from leading your ‘normal’ life?
As we get older, we can find ourselves concerned over details we would never have given a second thought to in the past. Perhaps there is an element of extra worrying we are willing to accept. If this tips into catastrophising about what might happen and affecting our mental health, then it may be time to seek help.
I suffered from anxiety in the past, which was becoming a problem and difficult to cope with. My GP offered some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which I found very helpful.
Two strategies that I took from the process were:
Set aside worry time each day
Acknowledge each worry or fear as it occurs. Park that thought but give it proper worry time at the allotted time each day. (Don’t do worry time just before bedtime.) This seems unlikely to work, but I found it helpful as instead of being overwhelmed with worrying thoughts and not dealing with them, I knew I would spend time each day thinking about those things that concerned me most.
What are you really worried about? If you can identify each worry and write it down then think about all the things that could happen, drilling down into the worst thing you can imagine. It may be that there is nothing you can do to stop the worst thing from happening but acknowledging this can be helpful.
You may find that your worry, when drilled into, is not as bad as you originally thought it was.
We all feel low and a little depressed at times.
If it feels like it is ongoing and not improving, it’s important to talk to someone and/or seek help.
I’ve often found that those low moments are the true turning points of life.
If I were to describe an amazing happy place it would be wild swimming in the most beautiful location, looking up at a vast blue sky, the mountainous landscape surrounding me, the gentle sound of the water as I floated along, opening my arms wide to the world and being so thankful to be present in that very moment.
What’s your happy place? Please pop over to my Facebook page and share.
Now you have thought about good things, what small treats can you build into everyday life to fill up your tank?
- Quiet time/reading
- Exercise/sporting activity
- Spending quality time with friends/family
- Diet/water consumption
- Laughing at comedy or the TV
- Dancing/listening to music
Here’s a list of ideas – 100 Ways to Unwind if you need some inspiration.
It’s all about knowing ourselves, acknowledging where we are and putting on that oxygen mask to give us energy and ensure we are the best for those that are dear to us. We owe it to ourselves too.
Let’s give ourselves permission – make it all about you for a change!