If you’ve flown on an airplane, you’ve been exposed to one of the most important lessons you’ll learn in this life. Put your oxygen mask on before you help anyone else with theirs. In other words, taking care of yourself first allows you to take better care of others. Or said another way, if you try to take care of others before you take care of yourself, everyone loses.

 

I could say it a million different ways, but still, many people don’t see how the oxygen mask lesson applies outside of a tube flying through the air. Or maybe they see it but refuse to acknowledge it. For some reason it has been pounded into our brains that there is something commendable about putting ourselves last. But based on the burn out and unhappiness seen in people who take care of everyone except themselves, I’d say there is nothing admirable about self sacrifice. In fact, I’d argue that putting yourself first is the greater challenge and a much more meritorious accomplishment.

 

As we move towards Valentine’s Day, a time of showering others with admiration and love, it’s a perfect time to analyze your oxygen mask situation. There may be people who you love more than you can describe, but you can’t demonstrate the fullness of that love if you haven’t been loved first. Let’s break down a few things you can do this week to make sure you’re wearing your metaphorical oxygen mask.

 

Physical Self Love
This category of self love is all about showing your physical body some attention. We all know how tired, depleted, and sick our bodies can become when we don’t pay them the love and attention they deserve.

Go for a run: The workout endorphins are real! Our bodies are designed to be active in a way that isn’t fulfilled by long hours sitting at desks and in cars. It is an act of love to get yourself running, and you will feel the happy effects of this form of self care once you’re done!

Spa treatments: Whether it’s a professional massage, pedicure from your daughter, or a face mask before bed, giving your body special treatment is pure luxury. Make your spa experience extravagant or DIY, the relaxation you receive can be just the same.

Visit your chiropractor: Ignoring the care we need to give ourselves throws us out of alignment, in this case, out of physical alignment. If you haven’t seen your chiropractor, do yourself the favor of receiving holistic, preventative, and healing care.

 

Emotional Self Love
Next we’ll talk about taking care of your emotions. You can ignore them if you want, but they’ll just end up stuck in your body. I recommend these loving means of working through emotions.

Get coffee with a friend: Sometimes all the hats we wear become overwhelming. It becomes hard to juggle mom/wife/entrepreneur/mentor/the list goes on and on. When it all gets to be a bit much, get yourself in front of someone who only requires one hat of you, friend. Let yourself be supported by someone who sees you, hears you, and loves you.

Journal before bed: It’s difficult to process emotions if they’re stuck swirling in your head. When you feel bogged down by emotions, write them all out on paper so they can get out of your head. The writing feels great, and sometimes it feels even better to ceremoniously dispose of the emotions you’ve written about that no longer serve you.

Read a book by the fire: One of my favorite ways to process emotions is to dive headfirst into an emotional book. It’s cathartic to feel what I need to feel while not having the emotional release attached to my own experience. If you want to be taken on an emotional ride by a book, Kristin Hannah is the author for you.

 

Spiritual Self Love
Lastly, we’ll talk about taking care of your spirituality. Often this category becomes a box that gets checked off once a week. Which of course leads people to skip the actual work and reward of spiritual connection.

Morning meditation: Call it prayer, meditation, intention setting, or any other number of names. Connecting with a higher source first thing in the morning, before doing anything else, sets a powerful tone for your day. It can be difficult to make a habit, but it will serve you in direct proportion to how much you dedicate to it.

Find a podcast that moves you: A key to spirituality is to make sure you always keep learning and growing. There are endless podcasts on all types of spiritual content. Find one that excites you and makes you want to learn more.

Spend time in fellowship: When you surround yourself with people who share your fundamental beliefs, you can combine strengths and grow together in spirituality. Make sure your spiritual practices aren’t limited to isolated rituals.

This list is not absolute. In fact, it is only meant to get your mind thinking about how to show yourself love. No one knows how to take care of you better than you. How are you taking care of yourself today?

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