Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First

Being the month of Valentine’s Day I want to consider relationships, not with others, but with ourselves. To look at how we love and care for ourselves in the midst of all that goes on around us in our busy lives.

Self care is about looking after yourself first so that you are then better placed to look after those in your life. It is the same theory as when you are on an airplane with a child and are advised in the event of an emergency to put your own oxygen mask on first. It is often the opposite to what our minds say we should do, but it is the wisest thing for the survival of all involved.

Self care is about looking after you in every respect - mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It is about doing what is necessary to get you in good shape and keep you there. Life throws all sorts of things into our path and by looking after yourself you are best placed to deal with whatever comes your way.

Some people fear putting themselves first, thinking it selfish or over-indulgent. I refer you back to the airplane example. In its most basic sense, self care is an act of self-preservation and survival. It is about taking small regular steps to look after yourself and provide you with what you need to function at your best. That will in turn greatly benefit those around you. (If you find yourself resisting this concept greatly then you may benefit from improving your self-worth first.)

Looking after yourself is ultimately about having habits in place that enable you to live optimally. It requires vigilance however as we seem to find it very easy to fall out of the habits that help us. Such as when the children are on school holidays, or we go away on a break, have seasonal activities, or have a bout of illness. We often neglect to pick back up the habit that benefitted us. So commitment and regular evaluation are required if you want to benefit from self care habits and live your best possible life.


Monitor how unloving you are being to yourself over the coming weeks and create some goals to improve your self care habits. Here are some questions to help:

  • How do you make life harder for yourself?
  • Which of your needs are not being met?
  • What is causing you stress that you are not resolving?
  • What is niggling you on a daily basis? What are you just putting up with?
  • What habits do you have that are not serving you?
  • How else are you being unloving to yourself?

Use what you have learnt from the questions above to create some positively stated goals that will help you improve how you care for and support yourself on a daily basis.

Also consider:

  • What do you need to learn in order to help yourself?
  • How could you invest in yourself with greater self care in mind?
  • What would you tell someone you loved to do in this instance?
  • What small positive changes can you make on a daily basis?

“Self care is about asking what you need – everyday – and then making sure you receive it.”

If this article resonates with you, let's talk: https://hazeladdleycoaching.com/clarity-consultation.html


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