My top 5 tips to fit your life mask first, so your buckets are full enough to connect with others (mixing metaphors ftw)

Fit your life mask first, so your buckets are full enough to connect with others Pic: Flat Icon

Fit your life mask first, so your buckets are full enough to connect with others Pic: Flat Icon

I talk with leaders every week about the stress that comes from leading teams, navigating change and being the pillars of their community/family that they are. We talk about the levels of connectedness that are required to lead people well, be they direct reports, or their families.

The thing about staying connected with people is that it takes energy and thoughtfulness. It can be the hardest part of leading. And yet it reaps the greatest rewards. People trust that you are a safe place, and that knowledge is where magic can happen.

In order to be emotionally available, we need to fit our own lifemask first. We need to be able to refuel so that there is energy is to give. So how do we fill up our buckets in order to be available for others?

Here's my top 5 tips for fitting your life mask first:

1. Pay attention to your own cues: Unless you are checking in with yourself regularly (i.e. staying connected to your own needs) you may find yourself out of metaphorical fuel and starting that downward spiral into negative emotions (distress, upset, alone, unseen, unhappy where you start to only see the negative)

2. Before you get to the spiral, take yourself somewhere that is rejuvenating: Reconnecting with yourself is important, and it doesn't take very long. My friend Liz taught me about a 5 minute routine, where you can close your eyes and connect in with your breath and your body. A simple meditation might also be good. The idea here is to create more space for yourself. And to notice yourself.

3. Spend 10 minutes each morning being with your people: The ones that make you feel good. Being with them allows you to feel good and fill up relationship buckets that are the most important ones. This connection sets the tone for the day.

4. Go outside and look up: A simple but profound way to lift your spirits. It's sort of like imagining yourself 10 years from now looking back at what you were doing. It lifts you up and out of your current state and reminds you of the vast universe we call home (or in the 10 years from now, it moves you forward in time to remind you that nothing stays the same).

5. Do something for someone else: Interestingly giving to someone via time, energy or something of value to us can provide a boost to feeling nourished and energised. 

How do you nourish and support yourself?