Look after Number 1

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Looking to get away soon? It won’t be a break if you take your exhausting ways with you​, says Life Coach Carole Ann Rice


If you are fortunate to be flying out of the country on a summer break please pay close attention to the flight attendant's safety speech.  Instead of rummaging in your bag looking for wet wipes or studying the Duty Free shopping opportunities use these few minutes as a tonic in self love.

 For they will advise that if an emergency arises the oxygen masks wall automatically fall from above and to be sure to place it over your own mouth before administering to your offspring. It makes sense.

Looking after No 1 is an act we deem as anti-social and utterly selfish and is about as attractive a characteristic as mumps.  We have to be seen to be selfless, of service to others above all and our needs are to either be negated or suppressed until it hurts.

It's the mother who has the smallest portion, is resigned to crumbs and leftovers or serves herself the roughest bit of meat so her family feeds well.  Going without, staying up late, getting up earlier and slaving away in the kitchen while the sounds of laughter, merriment and corks popping in another room is the lot of the devoted dolt and surrendered self. 

The very idea of putting our needs first seems anathema.   Icing cakes for the school fete at midnight, ferrying kids from pillar to party (canceling your own social events to accommodate) or being a wrap-around babysitter and childminder to grandchildren when you've barely got over the trauma of stretchmarks and rearing your own brood are all symptoms of the self-neglected.

Now a new report reveals one in two parents is risking their health by delaying having their own health concerns addressed in favour of their kids. 

In the report by PushDoctor.co.uk it revealed 31% actively neglect their own health while prioritising their children's and one in four said they would simply self diagnose themselves rather than seek help.

A good parent is a happy, healthy and satisfied adult not some resentful zombie wearing dated rags while their designer-clad dictatorial offspring stampede all over them. 

I prescribe radical self care to clients I coach who are in overwhelm or burn out.  I teach them to say “no” more often, to prioritise their time and relaxation (diarise time out if necessary) and take on board that running on empty serves no one.  So, when life's oxygen masks drop down you need to put yours on first for the following reasons:

  • You will be a better parent, partner, friend and colleague when your tank is full.  You will have more to give and will be happier and healthier.
  • Being burnt out means you are being a martyr and no one likes the smell of singed hair! What can you drop, say “no” to and invest in, to boost your energy?
  • Self-neglect is a sign of low self-esteem – eating and sleeping well, exercising and relaxation are essential investments for your wellbeing and self-confidence.

Our health and wellbeing is 100% our own responsibility and sadly nobody will do it for you.

You need to show your children that you matter and practice self care and commit to what fuels your tanks and nurtures your energy to be a good role model too.  That way when they are looking after you in your dotage they remember to keep up their yoga classes and sporting activities in order to keep going. 

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