You need to put your oxygen mask on first

On a recent flight, the airline attendants shared a very helpful reminder: put your oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs. Why? Because if oxygen ran out and we were busy putting the mask on someone else, we’d pass out. We’re not much good to anyone when we’re dead. Or tired. Or cranky. Or hangry.

Your oxygen mask

Image by Miikka H used with permission.

Put your oxygen mask on first

If we give all of our time to our kids, spouses, and careers, we won’t have any left over for us. What happens when we’ve had all of our time sucked out of us? We become lifeless. We aren’t able to give as much as we could to the people that are important in our lives as we can when we make sure we get some of that time.

I had a conversation with some women who came over for a BBQ a few weeks ago. We got around to the topic of self care. Why is it so difficult to care for ourselves? Why do we consistently put ourselves behind everyone else? Or when we do indulge in a longer soak in the tub, we feel guilty about it? (I wrote about how to avoid feeling guilty about that here.)

We get to the point where we put work ahead of our needs to exercise. We opt for convenience foods because it’s faster when more healthy foods will fuel our bodies. We choose to spend that half hour replying to emails when going for a walk would better reduce our stress levels. We choose to stay up a couple more hours to get ahead when getting that sleep will help us perform better the next day. There was a time when I chose to do all of those things. Thankfully, I’ve learned from those experiences.

Put your oxygen mask on first

As Matthew McConaughey says in a car commercial (yes, I’m quoting a car commercial), “…Taking care of yourself takes care of more than just yourself. That’s the sweet spot.”

What’s your sweet spot? How can you approach your life ensuring that you take care of yourself so you can take care of more than just yourself?

Pick one thing, and do that today.

We probably all know someone who needs to hear this post. Please share it and help more than just that person.

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Have you thought lately, “I’m exhausted and know something has to change but I don’t know where to start”? I invite you to a confidential burnout assessment. Even if we never talk again, you’ll walk away knowing your best next move to go from burned out to balanced. Apply here.

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