Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. With fall underway, most of us are dealing with transitions with school, work, schedules, and with various other responsibilities. On top of that, the holidays are quickly approaching. Many of my clients, friends, and family have shared with me their fall plans and something I continually see people forgetting to schedule is time for themselves.

And I get it—who has time to meditate, go to therapy, exercise, get together with friends or have a date night with their partner when you are juggling 18 other things (work, family, kids, school, cooking, cleaning, dating, organizing, stressing, shopping, eating, church, service…the list goes on)?

Filling Your Own Tank

The thing is, unless you can schedule time to take care of yourself, you will quickly find that you are less capable of fulfilling your other responsibilities. You’ve got to fill your own tank and remember that if you’re continually driving on a nearly empty tank, eventually you’re going break down. It reminds me of the instructions given by the flight attendant prior to take off:

“In case of emergency, oxygen masks will drop down in front of you. Please pull the mask down toward your face and place the mask over your mouth and nose. If you are traveling with a child/children, please attend to yourself first, then the child/children.”

Initially, this advice might seem counterintuitive and go against every instinct a parent might have—your child is more vulnerable, they need you. However, if you run out of oxygen in the process of helping, not only are you now at risk, but the people you were trying to help are also at risk, the task remains incomplete, and you are no longer capable.

There Is Always Time For You

When applying this to real life, most of those I work with understand the logic, but then try to explain why they are the exception. “I would love to take time for myself, but there is honestly no time for it. If I don’t prioritize [this task or person] ahead of myself, things will fall apart.” While we have all felt that pressure, at the end of the day, if you don’t take the time to take care of yourself now, you will pay for it later (i.e. exhaustion, physical illness, mental breakdowns, etc).

Take that nap. Go for that run. Schedule that therapy session. Go to that art class. Do something fun. Or engage in anything that rejuvenates you! You’ll be grateful you did now and later.