Secure Your Own Mask First
I have to admit that I'm guilty of not listening to the safety information on an airplane. I usually have my book out and my tunes cranked shortly after getting settled into my seat. On my most recent flight, however, I actually listen to what the flight attendants had to say. As I was listening, something the flight attendant said stuck out to me. "Secure your own mask before helping others." Upon initially hearing that I thought “Hmm… that seems a little selfish.” But as I sat there and pondered on that statement I realized that is actually the farthest thing from selfish and taking care of yourself first is going to help more people in the long run. As I thought more deeply about this seemingly simple sentence I realized just how true that is in so many aspects of life. While it may sound selfish to take care of yourself and your needs before assisting others, this airline safety talk highlights just how important that is, selfish or not. If one doesn't put on their mask first then the are going to lose oxygen, maybe they'll be able to help one person but in the end they will not only sacrifice being able to help others, but they need the energy and efforts from others to help them out.
Securing your own mask doesn't mean I'm suggesting completely set aside all other obligations and responsibilities, ignore the requests of your family and friends, and only do what you want and need for yourself. What I'm a suggesting is that we make a conscious decision in what and who we devote our time to, and that we take time to each day to do things that make us a better person. Setting aside time for ourselves whether it be taking two minutes to get fresh air, to devoting 30 minutes to exercise, to spending an hour on Sunday getting ready for the week ahead is not only going to help you in the long run, but also those around you. I’m also suggesting that we don’t do things out of obligation or guilt, but rather to do what is right for you, your health, your family and your relationships. It is in doing things out of obligation where we become short tempered with the people that matter most.
This metaphor can be carried over to all aspects of life, not just fitness and nutrition, but spiritual, emotional, mental and financial health. The funny thing is that when one of these aspects of your life is going well, other aspects start to follow suit. When you take the time to exercise for 30 minutes daily, chances are you may make healthier food choices during the day and maybe even decide to bring your lunch to work In doing that, you turn down the invite to go out to lunch where you’ll be less likely to make a healthy choice and will end up spending extra money. Rather than feeling guilty that you’ve put a dent in your financial and calorie bank you will feel energized that you have saved in both areas and in turn will be more productive. Then, guess what happens? When you get home from work, school, or wherever your day was spent you will be in better spirits which then improves the interactions of those most important to you. A whole day changed because of one seemingly little decision to exercise your body for 30 minutes.
When you don’t put your mask on first, chances are you may have the opposite spiral of events. Let's say for example, you accept the invite to get happy hour with a friend. You're not super excited to be going but you feel like you should. So, you go out for happy hour, stay a little longer than you wanted and spend a little more money than you planned. The next morning you hit snooze on your alarm because you were up late, which leads you to being rushed in the morning. You didn’t get your workout done and you barely have time to make a decent breakfast let alone prepare a healthy lunch to bring to work, grab an unhealthy lunch somewhere, feel sluggish throughout the afternoon and then feel moody which then turns into friction at home.
As I thought through all the scenarios as I sat in seat 10A, I realized that putting your mask on first and being selfish of your needs will take one further than sacrificing their well-being to try to be everything to everybody around them. Now, I understand we all have responsibilities, careers and people to care for that require our time energy and effort. By no means am I saying ignore their needs and neglect them, but rather I’m suggesting to think twice about always putting other’s needs before yours, and creating time to take care of ourselves. If you don’t put that mask on you first, you’re going to lose air and in the long run won’t be there for anyone. Take care of you, and the rest will fall into place. Secure your own mask and your ability to help others will multiply.