Do you put your own mask on first?

Do you put your own mask on first?

I recently had to take a flight (given the pandemic, very strange and very normal all at once). As always, during the pre-flight safety demonstration the flight attendants emphasized the importance of putting your own oxygen mask on first, should there be a drop in cabin pressure, before assisting others. This phrase 'put your own mask on first' has been a frequently used metaphor for self-care. And I will say the first time I flew with my son, it definitely took on a whole new meaning.

But here's the thing about the safety demonstration: most of the time, no one is paying attention to it anymore.

Why is this? I think it's likely a combination of familiarity and lack of perceived relevance. Many adults are not flying for the first time, so we have heard the safety details before. And, thankfully, the majority of us who take a commercial airline flight will never have to face a drop in cabin pressure, or a landing over water, or even severe turbulence. So we don't necessarily see the need to be paying close attention to what to do in these objectively rare situations.

However, the unfortunate impact is that the safety demonstration becomes disposable. We feel that we can get away with not fully taking in the information. We can 'make do' without it.

Does this sound at all similar to how we often approach our self-care?


Don't need to make it a priority

I can 'make do' without it

So maybe it's a good time to re-examine the attention we are paying to putting our own masks on first! And doing this not just in preparation for an emergency, but also - make that especially - in little ways throughout our days.

What are some things that you can do to make sure you get regular doses of 'oxygen' throughout your day, rather than waiting for a 'crash'?