As flight attendants prepare for takeoff, they remind passengers that in case of an emergency, they should put on their own oxygen mask before helping others. The same goes for self-care. If you aren't taking care of yourself, it makes it harder to care for the ones who matter most in your life - your children.
Here are 17 guidelines for taking care of yourself effectively:
1. Eat the frog first
Take on the thing you just can't get off your mind. Then, once it's out of the way, you'll be able to breathe easier the rest of the day.
Take a moment to unwind in the middle of a long day. Chat with a coworker, walk around the building or eat at a nearby restaurant with your team. Set aside work for a bit so you can come back with a fresh mind to conquer the rest of your workday.
3. Connect with a close friend
Help yourself stay healthy mentally by meeting up with a close friend (or, reach out to someone you haven't talked to in a while). Go out for ice cream, go on a shopping spree or invite them over to just chat.
4. Leave work behind
Sometimes jobs can follow you home, through dinner, through your evening and through your Saturday morning errands.Overworking actually makes you less productive. Do yourself a favor and set work aside when the workday is over.
It might take precedence when an important deadline is approaching, but when possible, leave work (really sign off) and focus on your family. You'll find yourself returning to work with a fresh mind and increased motivation.
Be connected in your community. Do something to improve your town or help your fellow community members in need. Seek out volunteer opportunities near you at a pet shelter, soup kitchen or upcoming event.
6. Unplug from social media (for a day)
It's easy to compare yourself to others in today's digital age. Everyone else's lives seem so perfect on social media.
First, remember social media only gives you a small glimpse into people's lives. You never know what things look like off-camera. Then, close your Instagram app and unplug from social media - even if it's just for a day.
Laughter reduces stress, releases feel-good chemicals and boosts your immune system. Get in a good laugh every once in a while to improve your mental and physical health.
8. Go on a date with your spouse
Busy schedules can make this harder to do, but it will be worth it for both yourself and your relationship. Even if it's as simple as playing a board game after the kids go to bed, get some one-on-one time with your spouse.
9. Call your mom
Or if your mom lives close by, visit her. Catch up and share what's on your mind. Your mom will love these spontaneous chats just as much as you do.
10. Plan a healthy meal
Feeling great starts with taking care of your body. Give yourself the nutrients you need not just to get through the day, but to thrive. Experts recommend filling your diet with foods based from plants - vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. And while you might love a juicy steak, they also recommend limiting meat in your diet and opting for lean meat and skinless poultry.
Get out and move. Walking boosts creativity and checks your daily exercise off the list. Take a walk alone to clear your head or invite a friend along.
12. Wash your hair
Self-care isn't only about doing things you enjoy; it's also about doing everyday things to take care of yourself physically. Washing your hair might not be fun, but keeping good hygiene can do wonders for your body and mind.
Use your voice. Even if you're a private person, you can share your passions by journaling. Keep your entries personal or share them with the world by creating your own online blog.
14. Visit a therapist
This can get pricey but can be so worth it. Therapists can provide help, relief and support during your time of need. If you've been thinking about seeing a therapist, now's the time to schedule an appointment.
Your husband can sacrifice some zzz's to let you get much-needed rest. Ask nicely if he can make the kids breakfast and play with them until you're ready to rise and shine - then you can join them for some family fun.
16. Watch your favorite movie
Not kid cartoons. Not the latest action movie your husband has been dying to see. Pick what you want to watch.
17. Enjoy a massage
Treat yourself to a massage to relax your tense muscles. If you feel guilty splurging on yourself, suggest it as a birthday gift from your spouse or enjoy a couple's massage on your anniversary.
Try to do at least one thing to care for yourself each day, even if it's as simple as starting your day with a nutritious breakfast. Making yourself a priority can give you the boost your body and mind needs to conquer the day.