Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others with theirs. We’ve heard the flight attendants say these words every time we’ve been on a plane. We know it makes perfect sense in an emergency situation to follow these instructions. We can be of more use to others when we take care of ourselves first. But have we taken any time to reflect on the meaning of those words beyond the airplane cabin? For busy women, self-care has taken a back seat. For some women, it’s now an emergency situation.
So what can busy women do to practice self-care? Below are a few tips. The most important thing to remember is that any one of these will help. There is no need to do everything at once or strive for perfection. Chances are that is what got us into trouble with our self-care in the first place. Any steps we take toward the go al, no matter how small, are beneficial. We will see positive change almost immediately. We will get hooked on being good to ourselves and feeling great, and we’ll be better mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and friends for it.
Try some or all of these self-care tips:
• Rest. A lot of people, especially women, walk around exhausted. They spend most every day feeling as though they haven’t accomplished enough, so they stay up late to try to get things done. This is unfortunately counter-productive and you end up getting less done. Get your 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night (whatever your body indicates it needs, it will tell you) and find your to-do list dwindle faster than ever. If you have trouble falling asleep, try lavender on your pillow, your nose and on the bottoms of your feet. Relax with a cup of chamomile tea right before bedtime and there won’t be any more counting sheep, just restful sleep.
• Hydrate. We know we need to do this, yet many women still go through their days thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Try to drink half of your weight in ounces of water. Divide your body weight by 8 oz. to find out exactly how many glasses your body needs to stay hydrated. Add lemon to your water to balance your PH levels. Lemon alkalizes your body and helps reduce acidity. Too much acidity can lead to inflammation. Test your PH levels frequently to see if you are balanced and drink lots of water!
• Move. The benefits of exercise are many, yet so many women feel they just don’t have the time to fit it in. You know the old saying, “if it’s important to you you’ll find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse.” Try to find a way to incorporate some form of exercise into your life. Again, this doesn’t mean you have to train for and run a marathon. Don’t immediately set yourself up for failure with such a lofty goal at the very beginning. Start with a walk around the block and feel the endorphins release. You don’t even have to join a gym. Begin close to home and go from there. Simple disciplines practiced each day lead to unbelievable results in the long term.
• Stay positive. Surround yourself with positive people, inspiring photographs and positive books. Be a student of positivity and optimism. Stay in touch with friends and stay connected to people who lift you up. Try to avoid people who bring you down. That’s not to say you have to turn your back on negative family and friends or people with issues and challenges, but you’ll find the more you hang around positive people, the more you will exude that same energy and be an influence to all those around you.
• Eat organic. Try to stay away from processed foods and artificial sweeteners. Eat hormone-free meat, cage-free eggs and fish from the wild. If you have a sweet tooth, try to use a natural, low glycemic sweetener such as organic blue agave nectar, grade B maple syrup or stevia. Avoid sweeteners that come in blue, pink, yellow, brown or white packaging. These dangerous chemicals can lead to toxicity in your body and induce cravings that hinder any weight loss efforts. Try not to eat after 7:00, but if you have to, avoid starchy or sugary foods.
When you incorporate a few or all of these simple steps into your daily life, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel all around. You’ll see and feel the benefits quickly. Again, every journey begins with one step, so be kind to yourself and pat yourself on the back for any progress. We’re all in this together, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or accountability from those around you (hopefully the positive ones!).
Do as the flight attendants say and get your oxygen mask on first, it will save your life.