Put Your Oxygen Mask On First!

Written by: Loralynne Evans

Doctor appointments, carpool, birthday parties, dance recitals...oh my!! It’s amazing how quickly our calendars fill with activities for our kids, leaving little to no time for ourselves.

We’ve all heard the flight attendant say, “Put your oxygen mask on first BEFORE helping others.” Do you know this is as important in our daily lives as it is during an airplane emergency? Making time for ourselves puts us in a better mental and physical state to care for our kids, and it models a healthy lifestyle to our kids.

Here are four key areas in which we need to consistently schedule time for ourselves:

  1. Nutrition – Your body is a well-tuned machine that needs good fuel to stay healthy and strong. Crap in = crap out! It’s vital to eat 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily along with lean protein and whole grains. The USDA website has great tips for daily food plans, healthy shopping on a budget and recipes. Schedule time to try one new recipe each week. Wonder how much water you should drink daily? Divide your weight in half and drink that amount in ounces each day. (Example: 160 lbs/2=80 ounces)
  2. Exercise – Adults need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days per week. This doesn’t have to be an intense weightlifting class! Take the stairs, Dance Walk your kids to school, or ride your bike to work. The article “A workout at work?” by the Washington Post has great animated images showing 12 exercises that can be done at the office. Schedule time to MOVE IT!
  3. Rest – There is no question that having children impacts our sleep! The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night. While limited sleep makes for a grumpy morning, it also sets the stage for poor health. A study by the Institute of Medicine found that people experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity. One tip for good sleep hygiene is to go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
  4. Relationships – It’s important to maintain strong relationships with our partners and friends. These relationships provide us with a support system and enable us to have interests and identities apart from our kids. Schedule time for a date night, take a vacation alone with your partner or plan a night out with friends. Looking for an easy first step? Enjoy a massage or dinner at your favorite restaurant! Your kids will thank you for it!
Posted on August 08, 2012 at 7:05 AM