Put Your Mask on First!!
The last 2 months I have been lucky enough to have travelled to warm, sunny weather places that have fed my soul. These trips have resulted in many airplane rides. (Gotta love those connecting flights.) However, these flights always provide a moment for self-reflection and to ask myself if I’m doing self-care.
You are probably thinking “How can an airplane ride remind you of self-care”? My self-care reminder moment always happens during the flight attendant “cross check” as the plane is moving away from the gate and heading to the runway. The flight attendants are reviewing where the exits are located, that the ramps can be used as flotation devices and where to find your life vest in case of an emergency landing. It is also during this period of “in case of emergency” reminder time that I am reminded that I need to take care of myself first.
The attendants go on further in their presentation to say that if the cabin loses air pressure, a mask will come down. They instruct you how to put it on. The self-care moment is when they point out how to handle this situation when traveling with a small child. You are supposed to put the mask on yourself first before the child. This concept totally goes against our natural instinct. I use this scenario often when talking about the need for self-care in therapy sessions. I always ask “who gets the mask first…..you or the child”. Most of the time the reply is “the child”. This is the natural way our brains work. Help other’s first before ourselves. However, we will be gasping for air while trying to help others. Most likely we pass out before we can help someone get their mask on. We are no help to others if our emotional bucket isn’t filled up. This does not make us selfish, this gives us the energy to be able to help others. If our emotional buckets are empty we can’t possibly be of help to others. Take a moment for self-care.
There are many ways to fill your emotional bucket from simple things like breathing exercise, taking a walk, reading a good book or exercising. Of course the best way to fill up your emotional bucket is to engage in therapy, which provides a safe place to explore your thoughts and get yourself into a good emotional place. Whatever way you choose to fill your emotional bucket, JUST DO IT!! You can only benefit from it.