You know how when you’re on an airplane, there’s always a safety warning before take-off?  What are they telling you? They’re saying In the event of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first –THEN you can help others. Yet so many people, when life gets stressful, chaotic, or when tragedy strikes, they think that it’s their duty to help everyone else but themselves.

This is an important metaphor for those of you who are out of balance, running around taking care of everything and everyone leaving the most important person out of the equation: YOU.

It’s time to let go of the guilt and the excuses and put on your oxygen mask. 

To avoid burnout, managing our self-care is key to maintaining our happiness, our physical health, and most importantly, our mental health. This requires consciously planning our days to include time to attend to our own needs and to make that time a priority. If we don’t, we eventually won’t be able to care for others. 

Try scheduling time for yourself like a meeting that you cannot cancel or reschedule. Make it a must! Otherwise, you will wind up getting resentful with those around you because you aren’t filling yourself back up. 

Airplanes have sensors to protect against oxygen deprivation. Fortunately, so do we: our loved ones. If they are seeing signs of “oxygen deprivation” in our life, signs that we have not taken the time to notice ourselves — it’s time for a change, not time to fight the feedback. Balance, after all, is like oxygen. We need it to survive.

Here are some ways to ease your way back into balance.

  • Define what a balanced life means to you: The right balance for you today, may not be the right balance for you tomorrow or next week or next month because your priorities change based on life stages. The one constant in knowing you have a “balanced life” is the overall feeling of accomplishment and happiness. Progress = happiness.
  • Unplug every now and then: Everything beings to work again after it’s unplugged for a while, even you.
  • Learn to say no: Saying no doesn’t make you mean or inflexible. You will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all by saying Yes to everything, it’s just not possible. Say NO to anything that either someone else can easily do, or that doesn’t add some kind of value to your life. Ask yourself: “Does this require MY unique fingerprint?” if the answer is NO, outsource, or delegate it.
  • Write things down: The only way to improve your life is to understand what you’re doing, what’s working, and that isn’t. Trying to keep it all in our heads doesn’t work.
  • Accept you are human and asking for help doesn’t make you less than. Sometimes other people can do it faster, better and cheaper than it would cost you to do it yourself. 
  • Create boundaries for yourself, pick your top 3 priorities and focus on them until they’re done. Understanding what’s working and what isn’t — will help you move forward with confidence.
  • Finally, look at why you are trying to do it all ( and likely not gracefully ) it comes down to control. Let it go!

Don’t just talk about change. If you are feeling stagnant, overwhelmed and just not overly fulfilled — make a plan for a shift. Decide today if you’ll accept life as it is OR if you’ll start living life on your own terms, with more energy, time with loved ones and time for the things that really matter. The longer you wait to create your future, the shorter it will be when it arrives. Where do you need to surrender your cape and ask for help? 

To your success!

Originally published at