The Importance of Taking Time for Yourself

by Alissa Iantosca

When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to “put your oxygen mask on first,” before helping others.  Why? Because if you run out of oxygen yourself, you cannot help anyone else with their mask.  The same concept holds true for when we’re not on an airplane, which is the majority of time during our lifespan.  

How many times have you put others first, or put off something that you wanted to do because of work, family, or everyday life events?  How often have you felt like you are being selfish, or felt guilty for taking time for yourself?  I’m sure the answer is “a lot.”  I cannot tell you how many times I have canceled going to the gym (my “me time”) because I had too many reports to write, or I had to show a house at that exact time, or I felt guilty that I had things scheduled after work for the whole week and wouldn’t get home until late, leaving Jason and the pups in a lurch.  So I’d skip my workouts and guess what?  I felt like crap physically, but even worse, and more importantly, I felt like crap mentally.  I would be angry with myself for skipping and would therefore be moody (sorry Jason) and not as productive as I would have been if I worked out.

I am sharing this with you because it is SO important to make, and take time for yourself.  You NEED to take care of yourself in order to take care of others!  By putting yourself first sometimes, you will be a better parent, spouse, partner, friend, worker, etc.  My “me time” is heading to the gym.  Exercise is a proven stress reliever and it boosts my mood and makes me a happier person.  In addition, I am much more productive when I take a little time for myself even if it means getting home a little later.  In the end I am a better partner, dog mom, Speech Pathologist, Realtor, and coach.   

Here is a little homework…I implore you to take time for yourself!  Schedule some “me time” into your week.  Start small if you need to and then increase the amount of time.  Put it in a planner, set an alarm, do whatever it is you have to do to ensure you are taking some time for yourself.  Here are a few ideas if you need them: exercise, meditation, take a walk outside, be creative or artsy, listen to music, read a book, take a nap… 

Do anything that will fill your bucket, so you can fill others’.