Last Tuesday morning started off as what many might call, “a bad day.”
I won’t go into the gory details, but by lunch, I was home from the office and running myself a hot bath full of essential oils to lift my spirits.
Within 30 seconds of getting in the tub, the day completely turned around.
How did that happen, you ask? What magical essential oils did I put into the tub? Did I chow down on a bar of dark chocolate or chug a bottle of bubbly while soaking?
Alas, no. It happened because I listened. It happened because in a moment of complete bogged-down overwhelm, I stopped, took a deep breath, and asked myself what I needed. And as ridiculous as it sounded to myself at first, the answer was, a hot bath.
At first I made fun of myself for such a silly idea. A hot bath in the middle of the work day, during the summer? I resisted the concept, eyes glazed, staring at my laptop, willing myself to come up with the perfect, Google-friendly SEO terms for my website.
As they say, it wasn’t gonna happen. Because I knew what I needed to do, and it wasn’t to force myself past the stress of the moment. I needed to listen. So I got up, went home, and got in the tub.
I kid you not, within 30 seconds of soaking and deep breathing, a new day dawned. I received a strong sense of accomplishment for the things I had already achieved. I discovered my Genius Zone and realized that if a task didn’t involve teaching, healing, advocating, nourishing, or creating, it could be outsourced.
You might cynically chalk all this up to delirium from the heat of the bath. Or maybe you think I’m bipolar. What was really happening, though, is that I was enjoying the biochemical shift in my body from deep breathing.
The truth is, we can give ourselves no greater gift than to stop and listen. We are asked to juggle 1000 different tasks a day, and we’re simply not wired like that. We’re not superhuman. We’re human.
In her heartfelt and insightful TEDx talk, Dr. Libby Weaver sums it up beautifully by saying that we need to put on our own oxygen mask first before helping others. She’s so right. Even if you’re busy at work, shuttling the kids, breastfeeding the baby in the carrier while making dinner, or writing code, I promise you, you can afford to stop for just 30 seconds and find your oxygen mask. Take a deep breath (or two or ten), wiggle your toes, stretch, do whatever you need to reset your system.
Take the time to listen to what YOU need — and then honor it. Find your oxygen mask. It can shift a bad day into an amazing one, create peace in the midst of chaos, and most importantly, be the first step towards changing your health for the better.