The Importance of Time for You

Regardless of your gender, making time in your life for you is not only important it is critical.

You’ve all heard the saying, “Put on your own oxygen mask first.” The reason that this is important, not only on a plane, is that you are of no use to anyone around you if you are disconnected and depleted of energy (your literal and metaphorical oxygen).

Truth be told, it is impossible (even delusional) to think that you can be connected to others, caring for others if you are not connected to  yourself first and caring for yourself first. On the surface, it may be possible to think you are connected to others, caring for others but unless you get quiet with yourself, how do you really know? Many people, once they take the time to check in with the truth of what they are experiencing unconsciously, they realize something different. I sure did when my giving, caring, taking care of and putting others ahead of me took its toll after 16 years of business, marriage and 3 children.

I often quote mentors of mine because I have learned much of what I have learned to re-design my life, to invest in and care for myself through those that have gone ahead of me. “We teach best what we need to learn.” This, making time for me, has been a major lesson for me to learn and for many of the clients and students that I work with. One of the weaknesses of caring, loving people is that we care, give and love from the goodness of our heart but that can easily be overdone to the point that it becomes self-sacrificing and self-effacing. One of the major roadblocks to balancing this strength, this gift of care and love, is a fear of being selfish. One of my most influential mentors powerfully reframed selfish for me into soul-fish. Once I recognized that making time to learn what I enjoy, what lights me up, what has me feel alive, energized and connected to myself and my world around me and once I realized that when I knew this important information and took time to do these things, feed my soul, my Self in this way, I showed up to those around me anew. Instead of coming from an unconscious place of responsibility, obligation and even resentment I was now able to come from energy, choice and a term I call cleanliness in my care, care-taking and love.

Can you relate? Are you feeling depleted? Are you feeling like you are constantly doing things for others – for your work, your spouse, your kids, your home, your aging parents? Do you feel like you have no outlet, no time for yourself and what you love? Have you even forgotten what you love, what you enjoy? Do these things feel like a distant memory or do you feel like you never even knew? Are you frustrated, running on empty? Do you feel like you are metaphorically putting oxygen masks on everyone around you and there isn’t one for you and you’re running out of air?

If so, it doesn’t have to be this way. It really doesn’t.

First. Stop. Simply Stop. Stop giving, doing, caring so much.

Second. Listen. Listen to what you need. Ask yourself, if everything (including laundry, bills, dinner, work responsibilities….everything) in your life was taken care of today, what would you do if you had this day completely to yourself?

Third. Do that thing today. Like, no kidding, do it in some way. If it is painting, take out paper and paint. If it is reading a book, read. If it is playing your guitar, get it out and play. If it is sleep, sleep. If it is going for a hike, get out there and go. Do it, unapologetically and see how you feel.

Put on your oxygen mask first and see what connection you feel to yourself and as a result what energy you have for those around you and what connection you feel to them.

Be soul-fish for the sake of you, your life and the lives of those around you.

Kristen Bentley