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A wee bit selfish and not a smidge guilty

In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will drop from the compartment above. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.

 ~ Airplane Safety Speech, as given by a flight attendant too long ago to guess

I have no idea why that part of the airplane safety speech has stuck with me all these years, but it’s an excellent metaphor for one of the things that my good friend M and I have batted about for years – the idea of selfish self-care. You can’t take care of someone else (such as a child, or someone acting like a child) if you don’t take good care of yourself.

To that end, I dredged up a list I wrote eons ago, and took a good long look at it. I still think it’s relevant, but unfinished. What do you think it take to take good care of yourself? What would you add?

  • Get sufficient sleep. A good portion of the population is chronically sleep-deprived (myself included) and the ill side-effects of this are well documented. Not only do you increase your chances of gaining weight, having a dumb moment (ie ‘cognitive difficulties’)¬† you could shorten your lifespan. This is one time that giving in to the unrequited love you may be harbouring is a good thing. Just ask my pillow.
  • Feed yourself well. This doesn’t mean eat only the things that (for the moment) are deemed acceptable. It also means enjoying (in moderation) meals that make you feel satisfied at the end of it, in the “that was fantastic and perfect and the company was wonderful” way. Food is one of the great seducers – so why not choose who you want to be seduced by? Will it be the equivalent of someone with no game at all (a cheeseburger from a fast food place, for instance), or someone who woos you with something thoughtfully planned and possibly exciting to the palate?
  • Choose carefully. The people you spend time with, the books you read, the things you do with your time – they all have an effect on your health’s bottom line. Just like you wouldn’t willingly ingest poison, you might want to rethink allowing a person who makes you suffer stay in your life.
  • Edit. If there are activities in your life that aren’t adding to it in a positive way or leave you feeling drained, and they AREN’T mandatory commitments, ask yourself¬† “Why the heck am I still doing this?!?” If you can’t come up with two good reasons (because really, one is easy – two is harder) edit it out of your life. You’ll be glad you did. Somewhat tougher is applying this rule to the people in your life, but if they’re already there and aren’t a positive, it might be time to edit them out. Which leads to the next item…
  • Allow for some negative space. Not every part of your home needs to be full. Neither does your life. Allowing blank spaces to happen allows new things to enter. It also gives you breathing space, and who doesn’t need that?