The flight attendant stands in the middle of the aisle way, holding the neon yellow oxygen mask in her hand. She says, “And remember, in the event of an emergency, secure your mask first before assisting others.”
Why do they suggest this to passengers? Why does this matter at all? Don’t we want to sacrifice ourselves, be as selfless as we can and do everything to help others first?
Yes and no.
If you spend all your time assisting others and neglecting your own needs, your capacity and strength to take care of everyone else diminishes. Sure, you can get by with this for a while but it will catch up with you.
The goal is to take care of yourself to take care of others. This doesn’t mean being self centered and not having any consideration for others. It means to put a balanced focus on the most important person: YOU!
Not convinced? Here is some advice:
5 Reasons Why You Need To Take Care Of Yourself To Take Care Of Others:
1. Stay Healthy
We’ve all heard of the overweight parent huffing and puffing while running to catch up with their child. The idea is clear: the parent must put focus on their health in order to stay active with their growing family.
But, it goes beyond just keeping up—we’re all aware that being overweight can cause heart and other serious health issues. If you want to be around to see your children grow up, take care of your health now.
Or, think about the folks who volunteer their time to build houses for the homeless—these people need to ensure their sustenance is maintained to keep their energy levels high while performing arduous construction tasks.
And nurses, those selfless individuals who work crazy hours to take care of their patients—their health is just as important. If the nurse isn’t making sure she’s healthy, how can you rely on her to care for someone you care about?
2. Set An Example
When you tend to the needs of your mental and physical health, you are leading by example. Your children will mimic this and learn how to balance taking care of their own needs, as well as effectively taking care of the needs of others. This will then spill over into other important relationships, such as with your boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, friendships and coworkers. Set the bar high and encourage others to a positive mindset of ensuring your own personal care.
3. Strengthen Your Relationships
As we said in “You Set an Example”, you taking care of yourself will show others how to do it for themselves. This in turn will strengthen your relationships by each party having the ability to be open about their needs.
Communicating openly is a huge part of taking care of yourself. A lot of us are like giant sponges—we soak up and store every thought and emotion during the day until it weighs us down right before we turn in for the night.
We must find a solution that will give us the ability to wring out that sponge to avoid carrying around the heaviness. In most cases, talking helps and, in turn, creates stronger foundations for relationships in the long run.
4. You Become More Mindful
Imagine if everyone in the world took one moment every day to take extra care of themselves. The world would be such a better place! Taking care of yourself to take care of others isn’t just about physical health—it’s also about mental health. Keeping your emotions in check and communicating your feelings honestly with others keeps you from stuffing everything inside and weighing yourself down. The opportunities for resentment toward others are lessened and you are rewarded with a greater peace of mind.
5. Because if you don’t, no one else will