Archive for April, 2007

Secure Your Oxygen Mask Before Assisting Others

“Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self- neglect.”

— William Shakespeare

As one of your flight attendants on this journey of life, I am reminding you that in case of a change of cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will drop down from the compartment above your head. If this should happen, secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

No matter how many times you may have heard this advice you may not have applied it to your day-to-day life, where it is very relevant. In our 21st-century life-style, there are so many demands upon our time and energy: family responsibilities (spouses, children, pets, parents, siblings, grandchildren), work requirements, household tasks, financial activities, friendship commitments, to mention a few. Amidst the attempts to meet these ongoing demands, it is not uncommon for us to become depleted, burned-out, exhausted. When the cabin pressure changes in your day-to-day life, what can you turn to as your oxygen mask? And do you secure it for yourself before assisting others?

The first step in taking care of yourself is to learn to recognize when you are feeling depleted and acknowledge that fact.

The second step is to notice what nourishes you in your life. Are there activities you can participate in that restore your energy? Or, do you need to find ways to take time by yourself, and if so, what are the conditions that suit you for alone time?

The third step is to explicitly carve out time in your daily life to make sure you are meeting your needs for renewal. Often this requires creating a routine in your weekly schedule and sticking to it regardless of how you are feeling.

If you get stuck because you feel guilty taking time for yourself when there are other demands that require your attention, understand that none of those demands will be met adequately, or at all, if you are not OK first and foremost. The truth is that taking care of yourself first is the best way to meet all of the other demands in your life.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere.”

— The Buddha


April 3, 2007 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment


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Julie Forbes, Ph.D.

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