Just Do You

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The Oxygen Mask

Posted by georgiannasaysjustdoyou on November 4, 2010


If you have ever been on an airplane you know that it is standard safety procedure for the flight attendants to instruct you on how to put on your oxygen mask. They also instruct you to put your own mask on before putting the masks on others who may need help.

These are their instructions (copied from http://www.kevincoffey.com air travel safety expert):
“If you are seated next to someone who might need some assistance, such as a child, an individual with limited physical or mental capabilities or just a sleepy, groggy spouse, you should put your own mask on first, then breathe normally as you assist the other person. That way, if the other struggles, you will have a steady flow of oxygen as you fight the person to get their mask on.”

There is a reason for this.  And this is a lesson that translates to our everyday life.  If you are a helper, or are responsible for children, parents, or other adults, you give every day. Some give more than others. Regardless of how much you give, your ability to continue to give really depends on how well you take care of yourself.

Believe me, I say this as a reinforcement to myself as much as for anyone who may find it helpful. I sometimes forget to take time for myself. Between parenting, working, school, volunteering, maintaining my household and so on, it is hard to carve out “me time.”

I remember a time when I had experienced a significant loss and needed to cry (I think it’s healthy and healing to cry when you need to). I felt that there was no room or time when it was okay. I particularly worried that I would stress my kids out if I cried in front of them or looked like I had been crying. I was utterly exhausted by the time I went to bed.

Then, accidentally, I stumbled across a wonderful solution to my dilemma. One day, I was watching Extreme Make Over Home Edition. I was bawling of course. Did I mention I cry during sappy commercials? My kids were thoroughly entertained by my crying over a tv show. They patted me on the back sympathetically, but were mostly amused.
Problem solved! Anytime I needed to cry, I whipped out my laptop and watched the show online or left it running where they could see it. Tada!

We don’t always have alone time and we can’t always get away from our responsibilities, but sometimes we can find creative solutions that allow us to take care of ourselves. If we don’t, we really aren’t going to be any good to anyone who needs us and depends on us.

What are some creative suggestions for carving out self-care time for busy people?

I don’t have the answers, but I always have thoughts.  Won’t you share yours?

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2 Responses to “The Oxygen Mask”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Just Do You, Just Do You. Just Do You said: Take care of yourself before you try to take care of others… https://georgiannasaysjustdoyou.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/the-oxygen-mask […]

  2. For me, without question, it’s as soon as I wake up each morning. It used to be that I’d wake up and begin thinking about the things I needed to do that particular day. Within a couple of minutes I’d have a list created within my head, mind racing with thoughts and off I’d run, headfirst, into the craziness of the day….

    Now, I wake up with a quiet mind, express gratitude for the many gifts I’ve received and am about to, visualize, ask for and receive answers to questions and problems that I’m working on (“show me all that I must do”), all before “thoughts” from the conscious mind have a chance to get going. It’s become my favorite time of the day. It took some practice in the beginning but the value and its joy is awesome…

    Much good comes from the quietness!!

    Thank you Georgianna, as always.

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