Put On Your Own Gas Mask First!

Put On Your Own Gas Mask First!

So, you hear the air hostess tell you to put on your gas mask because the plane is about to make an emergency landing. So, what do you do? Instinctively, you first turn to help your children, put on their masks and then you do yours. But isn’t that exactly what they say not to do!

And the reason is because we simply can’t consistently look after our loved ones if we don’t put ourselves first. I know, I know…it just doesn’t feel right to say it, let alone do it! But the plane oxygen mask story serves to remind us how most parents will lose themselves, in the loving process of looking after others.

It is really unwise to think that taking care of ourselves is selfish. It’s a real necessity if we wish or need, to take care of others. I’m a firm believer that the pursuit of self-care is a part of the role of caring, and if people think I’m being selfish, then so be it!

So what do I mean by self-care and looking after ourselves first? Taking some time out of the busy routine to spend in solitude or to do things that you love is a good way to start. Spend your ‘me-time’ doing what you love to do. Can you remember what that might be, or have you been spending so much time doing things for others, you’ve forgotten?

It could be listening to music, reading, writing, painting, exercising or simply meditating. Try to start off the day with a stroll or even better some yoga as it will boost your energy levels for the rest of the day. Indulge in your favourite activity (maybe a sauna, a swim, nails done?) as often as you can to keep the stress at bay, feel refreshed and focused without sacrificing your own well-being.

Maintaining the balance between something for you and something for them is crucial to great mental health and being happy and healthy. Consider taking up activities that raise the level of your energy and make you feel better. The best way to handle the real day to day challenges of life is to make sure that all the aspects of your life are a bit more in balance; ensuring you create a great support network, take advantage of offers of help (say yes to a baby sitter offer and try not to feel guilty!), spend time with friends, spend time alone, whatever fills your batteries back up.

Incorporating something just for you into your life, ensures your gas mask is fully on and your batteries filled up ready for you to live that great life and love your loved ones in the best, most positive way.

Sally is the Founder of LifeBuddy. She is an Organisational Development consultant and is a Practitioner with the Association for Business Psychology.