As children we are taught that it is wrong to be selfish, we must share our toys with other kids, don’t take the last cookie, it’s better to give than to receive. These are great lessons to help children grow in to kind and considerate adults. But there are times when selfishness is a good thing. I will even argue that it is an essential thing. When it comes to your health and wellbeing, it is good to be selfish.
If you have ever taken a flight, you’ve heard the safety instructions…”in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, secure the oxygen mask over your own face before assisting children.” In this instance it is clearly logical that we must take care of our needs first; otherwise, we might become lightheaded, disoriented and unable to help our dependent travel companions. But do we apply that same logic to other areas of our lives? Whether raising children or caring for aging parents, we often find ourselves putting the needs of others before our own. When it comes to our health and well-being, we must remember to “secure the oxygen mask” for ourselves first. If we don’t take the time to eat a balanced meal, get some exercise, find some time for tranquility and rejuvenation, ultimately we will become unable to offer the care that our loved ones rely upon.
Massage therapy can be an integral part of your self-care program. According to the most recent Consumer Survey sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association, 78% of survey participants identify medical conditions or stress management as the primary reasons for seeking massage. 51% report that they were encouraged by their healthcare provider to seek massage. Massage is no longer viewed merely as a form of pampering.
So when demands on your time get overwhelming and you are tempted to skip that workout, or heaven forbid cancel your massage, ask yourself if there is anything that can be cut before you deny yourself of your health. Remember that you can only be as good to others as you are to yourself.