Who do you think is the most important person in your life?
Get ready for shocking news. Are you sitting down?
It’s you! You are the most important person in your life!
It feels funny to say at first, so let’s say it together: I am the most important person in my life.
After all, you are the hero of your life. Without you, there is no “your life”.
There is a reason why they tell you on airplanes to put your own oxygen mask on before helping other people. Why? Well, if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone, not yourself and definitely not your loved ones.
I used to think my cup of energy is limitless, and refills itself on it’s own. No self care needed. It’s a refillable energy cup, it’s the perfect setup. Then somewhere along the way I learned that my cup does not magically refill itself. I actually have to practice some self care, meaning taking care of my needs first to make sure that I’m ok, before doing things for other people. And this caring for myself looks different in each situation. Sometimes I just need to sit down before keeping going. It can be a nap, a snack, some water, going to bed early, playing volleyball or tennis, talking to my family… It varies wildly!
I had a big breakthrough a couple of years ago. Let me set the stage for you: I am in my last year of carpentry school, our days are split, the morning in the classroom, afternoon in the shop working on projects. They are complex, we’re building things with new techniques, and there is a ton of math. There is no extra time to waste. I am pushing myself, and now I am thirsty, hungry and I have to pee. Taking care of my basic needs will take a good 10 minutes (that I don’t really have). In the past I just pushed through and suffered. But on this day! For the first time I put down my tools, and took the time that I needed to take care of my most basic needs. Bathroom, food, water. It sounds so ridiculous, but that was a very real choice I had to make that I hadn’t made for myself in that way before.
Why we think we need to push ourselves so hard, and “earn” the right to pee and have some water I am not sure. I do know that it’s very unhealthy.
For me to do the work I do, to love and take care of my people, I need to take care of myself first. If I am so depleted that I have nothing else to give, I really can’t be helpful. Additionally, I will feel resentful towards anyone asking me for anything. When I set good boundaries, listen to my body and my own needs (and then meet them), I have SO MUCH to give. And then it’s a joy for me to help / support / love.
Put your own oxygen mask on first. Listen to your intuition and create healthy boundaries that feel like freedom to you. Make sure that your magic cup of energy gets refilled regularly, you deserve it. Your loved ones deserve it.
This is one of my favourite benches on our regular forest / beach walk! It's just beautiful, and the bench is exactly the right height for me.
Jani is a certified ICF & Martha Beck Life Coach, and offers a free 60 min discovery session for anyone who is ready to create their best life.
For more info visit: www.janimartinius.com
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