This year, I challenge each of you to be selfish. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. I am, in fact, suggesting you put your personal needs before the needs of others. Now this may sound a tad bit strange, considering most of your life, you’ve been told how much better it is to do the complete opposite. But allow me to explain.
If you’ve ever flown, you are familiar with the airplane safety speech. If the cabin pressure drops, oxygen masks may descend. Place the mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally. Oxygen is flowing even if the bag doesn’t inflate. If you are sitting next to someone that needs assistance, place your own mask on first, then help the person next to you.
Well, that makes sense. If you pass out, you’re out of luck, and so is the person next to you. So that begs the question, is it selfish to take care of yourself before taking care of others, or is it selfless?
This year, be selfish, and make yourself a priority. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how to invest in your own personal wellbeing:
- Take shortcuts. If you find you have no time to yourself in the evening to exercise, meet friends, volunteer, etc. because of family/kid obligations, consider taking shortcuts:
- Sign up for a meal delivery service
- Arrange a carpool for kids
- Hire an errand or cleaning service
- Prioritize your free time. Especially on the weekends, before you commit to any “obligations,” make a list of the top three things you’d like to do for yourself. Note that part of wellbeing is feeling socially and emotionally full. For some of us, spending quality time with others heightens our wellbeing. For others, it can be draining. Learn what fills you up:
- Volunteering and community service
- Social interaction
- Time alone or pursuing a hobby
- Save money. Financial stress is no joke and takes a huge toll on all aspects of wellbeing.
- Create a plan that matches your short-term and long-term goals
- Get advice
- Take advantage of free resources
Taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of others. However, If you don’t invest in your own personal wellbeing, there is no way you will have the energy and resources to share with loved ones, give back to your community or excel in your career. It’s nearly impossible if you’re not operating as your best self. Fueling your total wellbeing will allow you to thrive and give more of yourself to others.
Shira Wilensky, National Wellness Practice Leader