I work underneath a flight path near an international airport. Having only flown twice in my life I am fascinated by planes and often walk to work with my eyes transfixed on the sky periodically gasping at the massive mechanical birds above me. Despite my gawping I had not realised that every time a plane takes off the people on board are given a piece of safety advice that my life has been crying out for;
In the event of an emergency put on your own oxygen mask before assisting anyone else.
Women are both chronically busy and chronically bad for putting other people first. We often put work, partners, children, parents friends and even the dog first leaving no time for ourselves. We need to get better at putting on our own oxygen masks, not just so we can breath (although that would be nice) but so we can better help those who need our help.
And it’s not just me who thinks so. There are real medical reasons for stopping and putting yourself first. Marianne Legato, author of Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget, says, “If you never have any time except reactive time — things you must do for others — you don’t have a sense of control. You are interrupted all the time. Your brain has trouble resting even during sleep. Such chronic exhaustion increases the release of stress hormones, and your blood sugar rises.” No big deal you might think? But there are major health issues related to increased blood sugar and stress hormones, these include; heart disease, diabetes and memory problems and for those of us who are trying to slim down; the hormonal effects of constantly being stressed out encourage fat to build up around your waist.
So first things first, lots of wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, employees can feel really guilty about taking time out for theirselves, time to be just them. So not that you need it but because it might help, this is your golden ticket, your permission to don your oxygen mask and inhale deeply.
identifying your oxygen mask
As you may have guessed from the picture, my oxygen mask is self indulgence and pampering. But it’s quite specific, I don’t go and spend lots of money in spas because I would spend the rest of the week feeling guilty and worrying about finances. And I don’t ( although I used to) indulge in high calorie foods on my pamper evening as this for me is more related to self destruction than restorative and positive me time. Your oxygen mask probably won’t be the same as mine, you might exercise, you might craft, you might join a book club, go for a walk, go out with the girls, take up a life drawing class or simply lock yourself in a room for a few hours that has no tv, phone or Internet access and be with yourself without distraction. Whatever it is we need to remember to put it on and inhale deeply.
And it goes with out saying (but I’m going to say it any way) not only is it bad for your health not to take ‘me time’ but it is good for your health to do it! Recent studies have shown that the people who are most happy in life are those who take out time for themselves. All research suggests that me time results in a less stressed, more satisfied you.
So in good old slimming world style I am going to ask you, are you ready for you?