You First, Them Second.

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“I think the greatest thing that we can do is take care of each other.” [Sophia Bush]

If I had a mantra, this quote would be it. [Right up there next to “Stay classy, sassy, and a bit bad assy”]
The reason I say “if” is in part because i’m ridiculously indecisive and the other part don’t like to be defined by anything but my own words/actions. This quote in black and white has reigned supreme over hundreds of beautifully scripted pinterest quotes as my phones background. More than once I have set a new background only to change it back within the first five minutes. This quote isn’t an order of how we ought to live, it is an invitation into one another’s lives. As human beings we get the incredible opportunity to do life with one another, to walk alongside each other through the best and the worst this world has to offer.

Earlier this evening I boarded a plane to visit my brother, he lives about half way across the country. People love to ask me why the hell I fly to Oklahoma and I get to tell them it’s to see my best friend. I have flown enough to know where the emergency exits are and how to inflate a life vest. For some reason on this flight in particular, the bit about the oxygen masks caught my ear. If you aren’t an avid flier, or like me just don’t pay attention anymore, here’s the deal wth oxygen masks. If the air pressure in the main cabin drops below a certain level, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead compartments. The flight attendant today said if you are flying with anyone who may need assistance, put your mask on first before helping with theirs. I am sure I have heard this close to a dozen times in the past two years or so, and am not quite sure why today is the first time I truly “heard” it.

The logic behind this statement is extremely sound, you can’t expect to be able to help anyone else if you’re passed out in the corner. I one hundred and ten percent agree with Sophia Bush that caring for each other is the greatest thing we can do. If you tracked with me through the oxygen mask story, go ahead and plug that logic in here. Yes, taking care of each other is so great, BUT we can not take care of others if we do not first take care of ourselves. While there are no hard fast rules of self care, it is important to note that as individuals we have different needs. Personally, constant interactions with other humans drains my gas tank. So for me, self care activities are primarily solitary activities. These range from coloring in my sweary coloring book to hiking through my favorite trails. Others in my life are completely fueled by human interaction. So, self care for them looks more like a girls night outoThis next piece is going to take a bit of introspection on your part. Do you prefer one on one interactions or do you thrive off the energy in a crowd? Do you find relief from stress by going to the gym or by taking a nap? Take a moment or two and think about the activities, or people, in your life that drain you. I don’t me this to be negative by any means, but our favorite human beings can actually be the most taxing of our relationships. Now, take a few moments and think of some things that may refill you. You could go for a swim, hug a puppy, paint a picture, get a massage…. etc. The point is to simply find activities that allow you to fill yourself instead of being ones that drain you. That my friends, is self care. I encourage each and every one of you to engage in at least one self care activity during your week. Feel free to let me know how this goes. Put your mask on before helping others put theirs on. Take care of you. Then take care of them.

Thanks for joining me on this journey, I hope you find what you’re looking for.

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