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The Oxygen Mask: Self Care for the Holidays
By Ashleigh Beyer, Vapour BlogGirl
12/8/2013

“Take care of yourself before attempting to take care of others.”



“You are the person who teaches everybody else in the world how to treat you.” - Elena Brower

Seven years ago, when I first started teaching yoga full time, I was constantly exhausted but I didn’t know how to “fix it.” I sensed I needed more ‘alone time’, but I lived in a tiny apartment with my best friend and my boyfriend who worked from home. I decided to seek guidance. When I elaborated to my therapist Jen on the details of my fatigue, she nodded knowingly. “Of course you’re tired,” she said, “you’re a healer now. As healers, we have to live the same rule we do when we’re on airplanes: ‘Always put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others.’” Ah-ha!

In my opinion, this theory is not just prevalent to healers, but to everyone. The jist is: take good care of yourself before attempting to take care of others. Thanks to many years of working with Jen, I am a practitioner and an advocate, of Self-Care.

Dr. Christine Meinecke defines Self-Care as “...choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy, getting quality sleep, practicing yoga, meditation or relaxation, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy.”

In Cheryl Richardson’s 2009 book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Richardson says to “become aware of how and why you feel deprived,” as a first step to practicing “Extreme Self-Care.” Richardson asks, “When do you feel over-whelmed, frustrated, burdened or resentful?” She says these are the moments to ask, “Where do I feel deprived?” It’s best to be specific with your answers. So rather than just saying, “I feel deprived of alone time,” say, “I feel deprived of quiet alone time where I can meditate, journal, or watch a favorite movie.”

Richardson also highlights routine as a very important part of self-care, “When you go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday, you support your body’s adrenal system by keeping your hormones stable and balanced.” One of the ways I addressed my lack of alone time was to wake up earlier. In that tiny apartment, when everyone else was still asleep, I could wake up early and meditate, plan my classes or read something inspirational. Now I’m a die-hard morning person. I wake up early to take good care of myself and I build energy reserves to help others take care of themselves.

The holidays are a challenging time to form new practices and that’s exactly what makes them powerful time to do just that.

At a recent training, the great Restorative Yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater gave me an assignment, which I’d like to pass on to you:

“Make a list of 3 things that disturb your ease and 3 things that restore your ease.”

During this holiday season, give yourself the gift of moving in the direction of ease: try not to overbook, forgo the extra glass of wine or say no to rushing and take a nap instead. If you’re well taken care of, trust me, you will be more present for your loved ones and therefore more able to experience the point of the season: joy. I wish you a joyful and easy season.




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Comments:

 
On 12/29/2013 Ashleigh wrote:

*put :)


Ashleigh
http://www.beyerbest.com

On 12/29/2013 Ashleigh wrote:

That's a wonderful idea Daphne! I hope your aunt enjoys the book and is able to out some of its ideas into practice.


Ashleigh
http://www.beyerbest.com

On 12/19/2013 daphne wrote:

I loved your oxygen mask analogy. I'm going to purchase The Art of Self care for my aunt who is a caregiver for my grandmother. Thanks



On 12/10/2013 Ashleigh wrote:

You are so welcome Alana.
Thanks for reading!



Ashleigh
http://www.beyerbest.com

On 12/9/2013 Alana wrote:

Love this ! A Perfect inspiration for my day today. Thank you, Ashleigh!




   
 
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