You’re probably familiar with the oxygen mask routine on aeroplanes. The flight attendants make it clear that parents should always put on their own mask first before helping their children. Why do they do this? If there’s a sudden loss of pressure, within 15-20 seconds you’d be experiencing a “stoned” and confused state and unlikely to be in a position to help anyone, let alone yourself.
Apply this same principle to your daily life. Give yourself time to sleep and eat properly and anything else that plays an essential role in maintaining your health and well-being.
Worse, in our quest for productivity, it’s easy to get upset at others who seem to be investing their time in the ways you want to but feel you can’t:
- Why am I the only one who stays late in the office?
- Doesn’t anyone else know how to wash the dishes?
- How can you go to <x> when there’s still so much <y> to do?
In The Exceptional Seven Percent: The Nine Secrets of the World’s Happiest Couples there’s an analogy which, I think, conveys this perfectly:
Imagine we’re together, and I’m so hungry that I can’t possibly wait another minute to eat. You, on the other hand, couldn’t be less hungry. That leaves me with two choices: I can sit around huffing and puffing, and wait for you to get hungry and make us both a meal, or I could fix myself something to eat. Of the two possibilities, the only healthy choice I can make is to accept responsibility for my need and meet it, regardless of what other alternative I might prefer.
So give yourself permission to make time to exercise, go for a walk, or whatever you need to do to get some “me” time.
Stop working at a specific time, say “no” more often and just ask for help.
And once in a while, splash out and spoil yourself.
Stop blaming other people for not being hungry and go and make yourself a sandwich!