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Do You Secure Your Safety Mask Before Helping Others?

    Image: Luzena Adams for Faint Magazine
    Image: Luzena Adams for Faint Magazine

    You know that pre-flight video – the one where the chirpy flight attendant explains all the safety procedures before taking off? Do you ever pay attention to what she is saying? Well, I may glance up from my book while it’s playing, but rarely do I give much thought to her words. Except yesterday on my trip back from CA, something felt different. Perhaps it was an overtired openness that came from taking the 7am flight, but part of her monologue kept ringing in my ears –secure your own safety mask before helping others. It hit me, this is something we can apply to everyday life.

    Clearly, I don’t mean we should walk around with oxygen strapped to our faces for the school drop off, or while heading to work. But I do think it’s crucial to take care of ourselves by scheduling the time needed (and deserved!) to reconnect, and restore our sense of being. To nourish ourselves from the inside out.

    What does that mean? To fulfill the essentials — get enough sleep and eat well– absolutely. But it also goes beyond the basics. It means to serve yourself without feeling like you’re overindulging. Or even worse — being selfish. While every day can’t be declared Spa Day, there’s no reason not to take 15 minutes daily for some ME time.

    During the week, I like to wake up super early — before anyone else has stirred– to drink my coffee and write. It’s only 15 minutes, and it’s all I need to get aligned with the day, or secure my oxygen mask first. When the alarm goes off at 7 to wake everyone else, I’m much better equipped to help them get ready.

    Other ways I take care of myself include a regular yoga practice, exercise, facials, massage (I love the 15 min chair massage at the mani/pedi place) and meals with friends.

    The activity can be big (weekend getaways) or little (5 deep breaths). It just needs to have the purpose of nourishing your mind body and soul.

    How do you secure your oxygen mask first?

    twitter: @elyshalenkin
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    6 thoughts on “Do You Secure Your Safety Mask Before Helping Others?”

    1. SirenaTales

      Ha! Love this, Elysha. I actually have used the flight attendant’s advice with my kids as they’ve grown up and taken on responsibility for others, as camp counselors, babysitters, classroom teachers. While I admittedly still have trouble applying it to my own life–those social conventions you allude to about selfishness are hard to unchain–I do aim to get my own mask on as much as I can…. so I can support myself and others. Dancing and other movement(of course), writing, experiencing beauty, actively looking for things to laugh about, cultivating joy and seeking out positive people (like you :)) help. Thanks for another thoughtful and soulful post, my friend. xoxo p.s. Hope CA was terrific…and happy new school year!

    2. Great opening image Elysha! Oh, I so know what you mean – and by the sounds of it you’re having a virgo sun/moon vibe as well – self care being a characterisitic of virgo energy. I’ve been talking about service πŸ™‚ Like you, my every day self care is getting up early and writing. I need more than 15 minutes though πŸ™‚ Yoga is a very important daily self care activity as well. If I really need to spoil myself – a hot scented bath behind closed doors, a massage or a facial – and the ultimate luxury: a whole day in bed, reading. OMG that last one NEVER happens any more, but i want it to πŸ™‚

    3. Looking for things to laugh about…I love this! This is something I’m going to try and get going in my life– it seems easy enough to implement. Thank you, ST. I feel so grateful to have you sharing your insight here. xxoo

    4. That’s right, Sara — this was quite the new moon in Virgo post! And WOW I hadn’t even realized we’ve crossed over to Virgo sun..where have I been these past few days πŸ˜‰ I know from your fantastic blog that you maintain a pretty solid self care program (which is a total inspiration, btw). I think the key is knowing what you can do to take care of yourself so that you can always come back to it when life gets in the way.

    5. girlgatheringwisdom

      You continue to turn daily things we take for granted into thoughtful observations!
      One of my favorite “securing MY O2 mask first” is going to my favorite coffee shop (ALONE) with a book I enjoy. All I need is 20-30 minutes to return to what or who needs me. If that wouldn’t work I could change my venue to the bathroom and play the “I need some privacy” card.

    6. GGW, your reply made me smile.
      20-30 mins ALONE in a coffee shop is heaven! I recently had the opportunity to do this while in CA, and funny enough — it felt like I had come home. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment.

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