Do you remember the last time you were on a plane? Try not to cringe. The half an inch of leg room, gluing your arms to your sides so you don’t touch the stranger next to you, eating nothing but incredibly salty peanuts and tasteless pretzels for the next six hours. Mentally preparing yourself for this wholly unpleasant experience by practicing your contortion skills and willing yourself not to have to use the bathroom for an unnatural amount of time. Then, it’s time for the safety spiel, and this is the important part.
“In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”
There. That’s the important part. If you’re travelling with someone who needs help, put your mask on first and then help them. Common sense, right? But think about this: how many times have you exhausted yourself helping others?… or said yes when you knew you would regret it later?
In school, in coaching, in life, we tend to help others when we haven’t worked on ourselves first, and when you put someone else’s mask on before your own, you’re setting both of you up to fail. Before you take on another person’s responsibilities, or put their needs before your own, remember this: self-care is not selfish, and it will make you much more capable of doing better for the people you love in the long run. Put your mask on and breathe.