The key to being a better parent, partner, person

March 30, 2018

You know that demonstration on the airplane nobody ever looks at? When the flight attendants tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first—before assisting anyone else?

Well, that doesn’t only apply to airplanes or emergency situations. In fact I believe putting yourself first should be mandatory for the manual of life.

Because if you don’t take care of yourself first, then how on earth will you have anything to give to others?

I know, I know.

You’re doing your best to be a good parent, partner, friend and colleague. [how is that working out for you?] You’re running your own business or try to keep all the balls in the air at work—and at home. Because that is who you are.

You care, you want things to be done well—if not perfect.

You have a full schedule and there simply isn’t always time for what you want, or need. You’ll catch up with that on the weekend, or during that vacation—three months from now.

We need at least one hour for ourselves Every Single Day. That is the minimum allotted time humans need to be healthy and happy and sane, or so research shows.

But most of us have trouble squeezing in thirty minutes of alone time.

It’s something I struggled with for years. Because there is always more to do…

We have high standards, for others, but even higher for ourselves.

We want to be productive with our time, have something to show for. I know I feel good when I can rattle of a list of things I accomplished that day.

But what really matters? Is how that day felt. How you feel—most of the time. Because that is what fuels you for the days to come.

And about that hour of time for yourself? The trick is to do only things that bring you joy. No useful stuff is allowed during those sixty minutes. [yes, more time is even better!]

This is your playtime. No ‘working in the garden’ because you enjoy it. Walking the dog because you relish fresh air doesn’t count towards your hour either. Nor does cooking—unless you take a class just for the fun of it.

Does that seem selfish? Or undoable?

It’s all about knowing that when you are in a good place—when you have the energy and the enthusiasm because you took good care of yourself—you’ll be so much more fun to be around with.

You will have the bandwidth to be flexible with your partner, your children, your colleagues. Because you are relaxed you can see solutions quicker, you are more productive and creative. See how that hour wins itself back?

But most of all, when you take care of yourself first, when you put on that oxygen mask way before there is ever an emergency landing, you will live in the flow. Can you feel it?

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