“In case of a cabin pressure emergency, put on your own mask first before assisting others.” We all know the familiar line that fills the aircraft while a well-dressed hostess provides a tutorial. Yet they continue to remind us flight after flight.
This isn’t because airlines are promoting selfishness one take-off at a time. It’s because we cannot efficiently assist others if we are not yet breathing properly. So what may seem like a selfish request is actually a lifesaving strategy for ourselves and those around us.
Now, our days may not involve cabin pressure emergencies and masks (except in the case of a global pandemic!), but they do involve a culmination of external pressures, psychological influencers, and demanding relationships. And if we try to meet everyone else’s needs before our own, we end up hindering our relationships rather than helping them.
Ditching self-care practices to take care of others may come naturally to you. But what if you started to see self-care as a means to take better care of others? What if you understood that a little me-time is the foundation for flourishing relationships? You and those you hold dear would all benefit. Here’s a breakdown of how it works.
Self-care prevents resentment
When you’ve spent the day picking up other people’s socks, answering client calls, and planning baby showers, it’s impossible not to care that you haven’t had any time for yourself. And you should care – you should care enough to do something about it.
Because if you don’t, bitterness starts to creep in. And you begin to resent those that steal away your me-time. So when your spouse asks you to switch off the light at the end of the day, you suddenly snap a “Just do it yourself!” in response. You may think you’ve gone crazy, but we’ve all been there.
This unprovoked inflammatory remark is attributed to more than just a distant light switch. It’s often a sign that you harbor resentment toward the person in the firing line. And while you may love looking after your spouse, if you neglect yourself in the process, the result can be counterproductive.
So what do you do? You avoid burnout. You get comfortable saying no every now and then. And you create time and space to meet your needs.
No two humans are the same. And as much as we love our close-quarter companions, our daily needs don’t always align. So by creating space to meet your needs, you simultaneously create space for your loved ones to meet theirs.
For example, you may need a quiet room to concentrate while your spouse prefers leaving the TV on. The two can’t coexist, and like everything, a bit of give and take is required. So if you make time in the day to retreat to a quiet space, you’re less likely to resent loud noises when you return. Plus, your spouse can indulge in blasting music or cranking up their favorite show.
Self-care eases stress
When we get stressed, we emotionally regress. What do we mean by that? In short, we age backward and quickly transform back into our two-year-old selves. This isn’t a fictional Benjamin Button-type regression. We’re referring to the everyday overreactions.
When you’re shot with an immature remark by a loved one, your response is usually equally immature. Before you know it, a small disagreement between two adults turns into a raging feud between children. It’s not because you don’t know how you should respond – it’s because a stressed-out version of you doesn’t have the emotional capacity to follow your own mature advice.
Hunger, fatigue, fear, and anxiety are all common stress triggers. While we can’t control them all, we can take practical steps to ease our stress. By doing so, we avoid emotional regression in aggravating situations.
Don’t underestimate the wonders of a daily time-out! Time-outs allow you to step back from stressful situations. They give you time to meditate on your emotions. They allow you the space to reprioritize and refocus, and they give you room to acknowledge and appreciate yourself – even when others may not.
When you take a time-out, make sure you cut yourself some slack. Our inner critics often attack when we’re most vulnerable. This isn’t the time to reflect on what you should’ve and could’ve done better – it’s time to whisper encouraging words to yourself through journaling, reading, puzzling, meditating, and anything else that decreases your stress. You’ll return to loved ones calm and confident, more likely to respond to stressful situations with grace and wisdom.
Self-care improves positivity
Self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself with spa days and massages –although we’re all for that! It actually involves allowing yourself small treats, which look different for everybody. Be it a bath, movie night, or chocolate bar, small treats fill up our tanks so that we can give more to ourselves and others. They boost our mood and add joy to our lives. Plus, they offer a new perspective as they interrupt a stream of errands for others.
As part of a good self-care routine, we recommend focusing on learning and laughing. While it may seem strange to concentrate on laughter, we often lose our sense of humor in the chaos. By making a conscious effort to laugh, whether by calling a friend to chat or putting on a funny show, we release endorphins that make us feel happy.
Learning new things has a similar effect on our mood. Learning stimulates our minds and provokes a sense of pride and achievement. It’s no surprise that a positive attitude will hugely impact your relationships! Your loved ones will soon be shoving you out the door for more me-time when they see the change.
If you want to take better care of yourself but don’t know how start by:
- Accepting what you can’t change
- Creating time to retreat
- Making space to rejuvenate
- Finding activities that encourage laughter and learning
A space for solitude is imperative to effective self-care. If you don’t yet have a space to call your own, a backyard cabin is exactly what you need. We’ll get your self-care haven up and running in no time, so you can begin looking after yourself for a change! Take a look at our cabins here, and remember to send us a message if you have any questions.