“If you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.” Dalai Lama
“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” Bertrand Russell
“…passengers should be advised to don their own oxygen masks before assisting children with their masks.” Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
In the busy lives most of us lead, finding time for ourselves can be a significant challenge. We wake up early, get the kids ready for school, work our jobs, feed our kids, get them ready for bed, and then maybe…just maybe…there are a few minutes at the end of the day left for us. Not all of us have kids or work regular hours. However, most of us still struggle to find time to engage in hobbies or personal interests…things that we really enjoy doing.
Because of our lives’ nonstop nature, recovery and rejuvenation are essential. We can’t do without them. If we try, our stress increases, our patience decreases, our temper shortens, and our days lengthen. And when stress reaches elevated levels and remains there for any length of time, we suffer both physiologically and psychologically.
Today, think of something you love doing. Maybe it’s something you haven’t done in a long time, but when you did it in the past, you truly enjoyed it. Or, think of something you’ve always wanted to learn or try. Then, carve out time in your day to do that thing…time that is just for you, nobody else. This might seem like a Herculean task that is simply beyond your capabilities. But it’s not.
Wake up a half-hour earlier, and use that time for yourself. Schedule and guard 10-15 minutes once or twice a day for “You Time”. You don’t have to identify a huge block of time every day. You just need to identify some time most days and then protect that time with all your might.
Life will try to steal those minutes away. It will lure you with phones and computers, kids and spouses. Your mind might, at first, seem in league with Life, doing its best to divert your attention by distracting you with thoughts of chores or sowing guilt about all the things you “need” to do that aren’t getting done. Ignore all of it, and protect that time.
To be at our best, we have to take time for ourselves. We have to rejuvenate. We have to recover. So, put your mask on first.