You hear it every time you board an airplane.
During their safety briefing, the flight attendants remind you that, in the event of an emergency, if the oxygen masks drop down, you should secure your own mask before trying to help the person next to you with theirs.
Have you ever wondered why that is?
When the masks drop down, they only have a couple of minutes of oxygen to deliver. That’s all they need… just enough for the pilot to bring the plane down to an altitude where there is enough oxygen in the atmosphere.
But when they drop down, you have only seconds to get that mask on before your oxygen saturation levels drop to the point where you lose the ability to recognize shapes and faces and then lose consciousness.
If you try to help the person next to you first, you are unlikely to get their mask on correctly before both of you pass out, putting you both at significant risk.
But if you take a moment and secure your mask, you can help get theirs on even if they are at risk of passing out. Once the oxygen starts flowing they will begin to come back around.
So in that emergency situation, it’s important for you to take care of yourself first.
The same is true as we go through the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the same is true even in the best of times.
You may be worried about your children, elderly relatives, friends, neighbors, or even strangers whose stories you see in the news or on social media. It’s tempting to give, and give, and give to do what you can to help, but who is taking care of you?
If you don’t prioritize taking care of you and your needs, you won’t be of any help to anyone else.
You are probably taking care of your physical health. You are staying home, washing your hands often, wearing a mask if you have to go out, and keeping an eye out for any symptoms of COVID-19.
But are you putting as much focus on your mental health?
Are you getting enough rest? Eating healthy foods?
Moving your body?
Doing things that make you laugh or bring a smile to your face?
Consider this your reminder to prioritize YOU.
Because the world needs YOU and your unique talents and gifts. We all need you to come out of this mentally and physically healthy.