Exclusive: Kimberly Elise Reminds Women To "Put on Our Oxygen Masks First"

by Kimberly Elise

If you’ve ever travelled by airplane, you’ve likely heard the flight attendants state, “Remember to put your oxygen mask on before attempting to help others,” during their speech on safety procedures.

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I believe this little axiom has always served as an important metaphor for womanhood. I am someone who by nature wants to take care of everyone in my life. And like so many women that I know, I often experience a twinge of guilt and feel a bit selfish when putting my needs before the needs of others. How can I put my needs and desires before my children, my partner, or the people I work with? I just don’t think many women are wired this way!

Over the course of my life, I’ve learned that when I neglect my physical and emotional needs, I am unable to serve my loved ones fully in critical ways. I feel tired or depleted because I did not get enough sleep or eat enough or spend enough quality time alone.

Today, I am giving For Harriet readers (and myself!) permission to regularly take out time in order to “put on your oxygen mask first.”

What does this mean? I believe putting on the oxygen mask first is different for everyone. It is doing whatever speaks to your soul. It can mean focusing your energy on your own goals, your own dreams, and your own desires. Ultimately, it means stepping away and having some “you” time.

You are the only person living your life. Therefore, you deserve a moment to step away and take a walk, pray, read, or meditate. Maybe even go to the spa!

In my adult life, I’ve realized when I don’t take a few hours to myself each week, the energy that I give to the people I love is not its freshest. When I take some time for myself regularly to exercise, eat properly, and relax, I have fresh energy to spend time with my daughters. I am more present for my friends. I am able to meet the challenges of the day with clarity.

If you put your own oxygen mask on first, I think you’ll come to feel better about yourself inside and out. You will be taking care of your own life force. And when you're strong and vital, you are taking the first step to ensure that those around you are also strong and vital in their own ways.

Photo: KimberlyElise.com

KimbelyElise.com is a celebrity website devoted to natural beauty, wellness, and healthy living. Kimberly Elise is a film and television actress, a four-time NAACP Image Award recipient, and a leading character in the hit television drama Hit The Floor on VH1. With a career that spans over 20 years, Kimberly Elise has worked alongside Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Cicely Tyson, and Danny Glover.

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