When my mother passed away, one of the best pieces of advice I got was “take care of yourself; this will be harder than you think.” Best. Advice. Ever. I have subsequently shared it with so many during difficult times.
This is why I find it puzzling when clients and others make excuses for not coming to work out because of everything going on in their lives. “So-and-so is ill.” “I’ve got big projects at work.” “I’ve got too many obligations with my kids/friends, spouse….”
You may recall my second blog post where I spoke about one of the most important parts of my philosophy; remember that little speech that they make before your flight takes off?
Put your air mask on first and THEN assist those around you. In other words, unless you take care of yourself, you cannot possibly be of help to others. Somehow, we get this on an airplane, but in “real life” we find a million excuses.
During difficult times in my life (divorce, job loss, illness) I made sure to always prioritize taking care of myself–not just going to the gym, but also eating right, getting rest and treating myself to the occasional massage or other treat. Why? Because when I do these things it energizes me. If I don’t, a day goes by, two, three…a week, two…. I let things slide. I don’t exercise or eat right. Next thing I know, I’m feeling fatigued, wiped out, cranky and certainly less-than-helpful.
When the going gets tough, we need to claim our self-care. It is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Those around us–especially those that depend on us–must understand that when our compassion “gas tank” get empty, we need to make sure to refill it.
It sounds somewhat oxymoronic, but when things seem the most harried and pressured is exactly when we need to take care of ourselves. As my friend told me, it will be harder than we think…but the alternative will ultimately be even worse.