Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

Putting Your Oxygen Mask on Means Taking Care of Yourself

When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to “put your oxygen mask on first,” before helping others. 

Why is this an important rule for ensuring survival?  Because if you run out of oxygen yourself, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. Or put more simply: if you die, you can’t help anyone else.

This is an important metaphor for those who spend a great deal of their time taking care of others (mothers, fathers, care-givers, doctors, nurses, teachers). Taking care of others can easily deplete the care-giver.  

If you don’t take care of yourself, you can experience burnout, stress, fatigue, reduced mental effectiveness, health problems, anxiety, frustration, inability to sleep, (and even death).  Are you experiencing any of these symptoms?

Care-givers need to replenish their energy and reserves in order to continue to take care of others.  

Let Go of Your Guilt & Put your Oxygen Mask on First

It’s time to let go of the guilt and take care of yourself by:

  • Getting enough rest
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating vegetables & fruit
  • Having your regular physicals
  • Going to the doctor when you need treatment
  • Taking supplements
  • Spending time every day on a renewal activity, e.g.:
    • Sitting quietly for at least 10 minutes
    • Meditating
    • Watching humming birds or squirrels in the trees
    • Listening to uplifting music
    • Reading an inspiring book
    • Writing in your journal
    • Creating gratitude list
    • Walking on the beach
    • Engaging in a hobby
  • Cutting down your stress by laughing:
    • Reading comics
    • Buying a joke of the day calendar
    • Watching a funny T.V. show 
    • Watching a comedy special
    • Playing a game with your family

Remember, it isn’t selfish to take care of yourself, it’s necessary!

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