Updated: May 24
Are you fitting your own oxygen mask?
Every time we board a plane, we are told time and time again to fit our own oxygen mask before helping those around us.
So why is it that we feel guilty to carry this principle through into everyday life?
Why is it that we can so readily say “Yes” to someone else, but “No” to ourselves?
A lot of us carry the assumption that it is selfish to put ourselves first, or that by doing so, we are giving our loved ones a smaller portion of our time.
In fact, the opposite is said to be true.
If you give to yourself first, you can better give to others around you.
You’ll have more energy and higher levels of happiness, which will translate into the quality you can give and how you show up to the world.
Often this belief that we need to serve others first is one which is projected out of fear.
Fear of judgement, fear of being called “selfish”, or a fear that we won’t live up to the ridiculous expectations that we place on ourselves to be everything for everyone.
Some common symptoms for your lack of oxygen is burn out, exhaustion, or rebellion.
Eventually, something is going to have to give and it is up to you to make that choice.
But continuing to fit your own mask last will leave you with no energy to focus on yourself and your needs, and this results in a perpetual cycle of exhaustion – recovery – giving to others – and overwhelm.
So, how can you make some small steps to take care of you first, so you can better help others?
It is an automatic response to say “Yes” to someone else’s needs.
Think about how saying “Yes” may impact your future self, and try answering with “Let me get back to you on that one”, and schedule time to help when it is convenient to you.
Set aside non-negotiable YOU time in your calendar or diary, and stick to it! Think of this as time to fill up your oxygen tank again, by doing something which you love and enjoy. These are your appointments for you, so be sure to not double book yourself.
You wouldn’t cancel a hair appointment last minute, would you? So, why do it to yourself? Use your support system to help you stay accountable to your own needs, and keep the lines of communication open.
If this means that your partner needs to cook one night a week so you can take some time to unwind, do it. If they understand how they can better help you, they will readily do it; so, don’t shut them out.
Start with setting aside just 10-15 minutes a day if you feel overwhelmed. Small increments will help you get into the habit of taking this time for you, and when you start to feel the benefits of doing so, you can extend this time out, guilt free!
Just remember, life will continue to pass you by until you slow down, breathe in that fresh oxygen, and enjoy it.
Time is a constant that we cannot change, but we can change what we do with it, and the sooner you help yourself, the sooner you can help others too.