Put on your own oxygen mask first.

Sitting on a plane observing the pre-flight safety demonstration, the instruction "put on your own safety mask first" was never a command I questioned. 

Of course, it makes excellent sense. How can I help anyone else on board if I can't breathe?

You have to make yourself safe to be able to help others to safety.

As a doctor, carer, manager, parent - your first instinct in situations of heightened stress, is likely to be 'others first - me second (or even third or fourth?)'.

Stop. You need to breathe. You also need to lead by example.

So what does putting on your own oxygen mask mean to you?

Is it taking a break from a stressful task to allow your brain to relax and your stress to fall? Is it scheduling your day so that you tackle a domestic job every other hour? Setting a half hour time limit to conference calls? Walking outside every afternoon? Singing in the bath?

The answer to the question; what do I need right now, should always be honoured.

In choosing to respond to this, whatever your self-care practice, you will be putting on your own oxygen mask first. And in doing so, you can again lead with confidence.


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