When I was losing weight and learning how to take care of myself, the idea of “putting on my own oxygen mask first” really resonated with me. Instead of feeling guilty about taking time to eat right and exercise, I realized that I needed to take care of myself in order to be able to take care of my family and do what needed to be done at work. Just like the flight attendants tell us, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first–only then can you really help others.
When I started to make exercise a part of my daily routine, it didn’t take me long to realize that if I didn’t exercise first thing in the morning, it would be hard to take time for a workout later in the day. Work demands kept me chained to my desk all day, and I already was juggling dinner, homework, and school events in the evenings. I learned to get up at o’dark-thirty for my “rise and shine” exercise time.
I pared my morning routine down to the essentials–workout, shower, breakfast–so I could fit it all in before we had to leave the house to get the kids to school on time. Now that my kids are in college, the fear of traffic still gets me out of the house pretty early, but I have squeezed more and more into my morning routine.
Now, my days start with a walk with Tiger Lilly.
When we get back from our 1 mile loop around the block, I do my own workout, and then get ready for work. I eat breakfast at home, and spend 20-30 minutes catching up on Facebook, Twitter and my favorite blogs. By the time I leave for work, I’ve usually been up for 2.5 hours!
An essay in the March issue of Good Housekeeping made me realize that my whole morning routine is my oxygen mask. The exercise time helps me take care of my body, but the social media time helps me take care of my soul. I am fortified by updates, encouragement, and inspiration from my friends and social media networks, and starting my day with things that interest me personally helps me face whatever traffic jams, work emergencies, and back-to-back conference calls the rest of the day may bring.
Do you put on your own oxygen mask first?