The biggest example I know to take care of yourself first happens on a plane. You’re on a flight, scrolling through Instagram on your phone.
Your friendly flight attendant steps to the front of the aircraft, ready to do the ritual dance of safety. As they perfunctorily go through the steps, they reach a critical part.
If there’s a sudden emergency and the cabin loses pressure, the oxygen masks will dropdown. Take the mask and place it on yourself first, then help someone else if needed. (not quoted verbatim of course).
So yes, you can have a young child or an old parent who needs help. But it’s important you see to yourself first.
Why is that?
Our provider and protector nature would compel us to help them because we love them so much.
We can’t do help if we can’t breathe.
Let’s bring this concept back to our everyday lives. We all have or will encounter people we want to help and provide for. It could be our family, the wider community or the world. You may already be serving these circles but with little progress. If you want to make a big impact, you have to make sure you’re in a space that attracts that impact.
And it all starts with taking care of yourself.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Wanting to take care of yourself is not selfish or conceited. As long as you have a goal of making an impact in mind, part of it involves self-care. It involves getting your shit together.
The benefits of self-care are priceless:
- It’s through self-service you gain empathy
- You get the confidence to aim bigger
- You build confidence and the authority to help others
- Self-care reduces exhaustion and stress
- It helps us lead by example.
So how are you going to help others by helping yourself?
Assess where you are right now
Once you know what kind of impact you want to make, you must know what kind of position you are in today.
To take the airplane analogy; can you breathe right now?
Honestly assess your mental, physical, financial and spiritual state. You may be concerned about where you at right now, but knowing the figures can help you get to a place where you can change your life and the life of others.
Take care of your physical health
The better your health, the longer you can do the things you want to and be around the people who need you.
- Eating the right foods to protect your gut and heart.
- Incorporating small amounts of exercise to give you the strength and stamina and work harder.
- Get the right amount of sleep so you don’t feel like crap in the day.
Small changes and consistent positive habits will help you become the person you envision; a healthy soul who can fight with the best of them.
Watch your mental health
High stress, anxiety, and depression impact everyone around you. It stops the very impact you’ve been trying to achieve. At the same time, mental health is not something you can fix with the flip of a switch.
Take your time to care for your mind each day with meditation, journaling, and counseling if needed.
Being mentally fit allows you to make a bigger impact on causes that can take a lot out of you.
Take care of your finances
I’m not where I want to be in this area.
I still have debt from the poor choices I made in my 20’s.
There’s so much I want to do to help my mom, close friends, and causes that are dear to me. And while I do help when I can, I can only imagine the impact I can make when I transform my financial health.
For me, it’s down to:
- Establishing a healthier relationship with money.
- Learning how to earn it through improving my skills and offering those skills
- Growing it by placing it in the right avenues.
- Connecting with mentors to help me be financially accountable
True wealth means you can not only change your life but the lives of others. That’s my dream.
I’m making the new year one of self-care. I hope you join me on that journey. Self-care is in no way neglecting your obligations to your lover, children, or career. It’s leveling up yourself so you can do the things you’ve been dreaming of. Take care of yourself and everything will change.