You know the drill. When you’re on an airplane, the flight attendants tell you that in case of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask first before helping anyone else. In mental health, we love using this as an analogy for how you should live your life. Take care of yourself first before taking care of others. If you do not, you’ll have nothing left to give others anyway. (Think passed out on an airplane or generally depleted of all energy in your regular life.)
This is easier said than done sometimes. For me, it’s about creating an owners manual for myself. What do I need to be functional, happy, and strong? Creating that mental checklist helps tremendously when you’re having a moment of stress or a sensation of sadness for essentially “no reason”. When in doubt, refer back to the checklist. What is missing? What do i need? Mine, for example, includes exercise, time with my husband one on one (Love language! Highly recommend the book it you haven’t already read it!), alone time, grooming (makeup, nails etc.), good food, sleep, and brain exercise (work). Do some self-evaluation to create your own “owners manual”, study it, and refer back to trouble shoot when necessary. You’ll thank yourself later when you easily have the answer to the “what do I need” question.
(Originally posted April 2019)