Take Care of Yourself First

By on March 19, 2018

By Poppy Smith—

I feel sorry for flight attendants. They stand in the aisles holding a seat belt or oxygen mask asking for a few minutes of our undivided attention. Most of us who fly regularly ignore this routine announcement preferring to bury ourselves in a magazine or book, shut our eyes hoping to nap, or fiddle with our tablets or phones.

I know that every piece of advice from a flight attendant is invaluable in an emergency. Yet, somehow, I assume they’ll have time to repeat it when we’re actually facing a crisis—which is when we’re all shrieking, “Tell us what to do!”

However, there is one piece of advice that most flyers do know by heart. When the oxygen mask drops from above your head, take care of yourself first!

When I first heard this, it struck me as totally self-centered. After all, shouldn’t I help everyone else first, especially if I’m travelling with my kids (even if they are adults)? Or attend to people older than myself sitting nearby?  Yes, of course I should. Except, if I’m gasping for air and passing out through lack of oxygen, soon others will be taking care of me.

This same principle applies to our lives. If we don’t pay attention to some of the elements that sustain a healthy, growing, balanced life, we won’t thrive.  And others might have to take care of us instead of us caring for them.

Thriving Doesn’t Just Happen

Given the constant daily pressures we all face, it’s easy to ignore some key essentials for thriving at this stage of life. In particular, priority has to be given to taking care of our physical bodies. Here are three areas of key importance:

  • Choose not to skimp on sleep. Research on sleep and the brain stresses the importance of  sleep. This means night owls need to intentionally change their habits. And the rest of us need to stick to a pre-decided healthy bedtime.                                                                                       
  • Choose to walk across the parking lot rather than circling to find an open spot outside the store door is an easy way to get much needed exercise. Move every chance you get.                          
  • Choose what you eat.  Refusing to eat whatever is heaped up on your plate (except for veggies, of course) is a vital part of treasuring your body. Ask for a “doggie” bag BEFORE you dig in.


Whatever you desire to experience or become in life, depends to a large degree on your choices.

What choices are you currently making in these areas? Which ones need attention?


Poppy Smith is a former Bible Study Fellowship Teacher, has a Masters in Spiritual Formation and Direction, and is passionate about equipping women to thrive spiritually, emotionally, and personally. Audiences call Poppy, “warm, funny, and insightful. Honest, vulnerable, and a powerful Bible teacher.”  Her spiritually motivating books and Bible studies help women grow in understanding how God works in their lives, guiding even wimpy women (like herself!), to trust and say YES to Him. Poppy also encourages women personally in her role as a certified Spiritual Director/Christian life coach. She currently writes a twice-monthly blog, THRIVE, that is regularly read by 1,000 women across the globe. To read more, find her at: www.poppysmith.com  

About Poppy Smith

Born in England to a non-believing family, Poppy grew up there and in Sri Lanka, Singapore and Kenya. She met her American husband in Nairobi and they soon moved to the United States. The adjustment to her new marriage and new country, combined with loneliness and the loss of all that was familiar, brought Poppy to a defining moment with God. The resulting change, from anger to acceptance, from fighting God to seeking Him, led her into a life-long love of Scripture and the One it reveals. Her website: http://www.poppysmith.com/.

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Take Care of Yourself First