“If you are traveling with a person who needs assistance, please apply your oxygen mask first, before helping your child or companion with theirs.”
We hear this every time we fly. It sounds counter-intuitive at first. We think that it sounds selfish or not compassionate.
Looking at this policy closer, I think it makes for a pretty good life plan.
The humanity in us tells us that we should help others when we can - whether raising our children, assisting the disadvantaged or even improving the environment - we feel compelled to reach outside of ourselves to help.
But until we help ourselves - maximize our own health, happiness and security - we aren’t much good to anyone else.
You may have had this experience: You are there for others - friends, family, colleagues - giving, giving, giving until you have nothing left, eventually tour generosity i replaced by regret and resentment. You’re burned out. Why? You’ve forgotten yourself and haven’t taken enough care of your needs first. You’re so out of practice addressing your own needs, you’re not even sure what they are any more!
I suggest, before you drain your tank helping everyone else, you make sure you are OK first. Yes, apply your oxygen mask first, then you will be healthy and ready to help those around you, and you will do a much better job of it as well!!
You know what you need to be healthy and happy. Attend to those needs first, before you reach out to others around you. Once you are safe and secure with your own oxygen mask, you will better prepared to help others. And you will be strong enough to do so without compromising the health and safety you have worked so had to achieve.
Dr. John Monaco