I've been using this phrase about mental health for well over a year now, 'fix your own oxygen mask first'. I'm not entirely sure where I heard it first, but it definitely spoke to me. The more I find myself saying it to people, the more I realise that there a lot of people out there who put everyone else, everything else and everyone else' needs and requirements ahead of there owns, sometimes to the detriment of their own mental health. Why? Clearly, we have a feeling that the world in which we are a part of would simply not be able to function if we didn't continue to sort out everything and everyone else around us first before, with whatever energy that is left in the tank we look after our own requirements. Again, why?
The phrase 'fix your own oxygen mask first' comes from the safety announcement you may have heard on every flight you have been. "Please attend to your own oxygen mask first before attending to others" The reason why they tell us to do this in an emergency situation on a flight is simple. If you are running out of the air, and your helping everyone else around you before yourself, it won't be long until you're unconscious on the floor. If you don't look after yourself first, you can not look after anyone else. That's why!
In everyday life, this should also be our reason why. Mental health month is this month, and more and more I see people coming through my door searching for something that they can do for their health both mental and physical. Not always, but more and more people are reluctant to commit to a plan to help them achieve their health goals & more and more the reason is that they can't justify the time or the money, or both being spent on themselves. They feel that there is a more worthy cause in their time budget or money budget, but at what ultimate cost? I believe that, if you can't afford yourself some time for you and your needs, then the result could be, in my mind, catastrophic for your mental well being.
If you find yourself saying "I don't have the time," or "I can't find the time," or "I need to do something else during that time," then the internal dialogue that you are telling your subconscious is that you're not worth the time, or the money or both and your needs are not as important as those around you. Not true. You have to mind yourself first, put your own damn oxygen mask on.
If you are reading this and you know that you desperately need to mind your health, mental and or physical but reasons of time, money or doing things for others first are stopping you, you need to write down these three positive affirmations and tape them to your mirror where you brush your teeth, you need to set them as a background to your phone, you need to tape them to the dashboard of your car. You need to stick them anywhere and everywhere that you look frequently & every time you see them read them out loud. Don't roll your eyes! Have an open mind, if you know you're struggling you have to seek a solution before your air runs out and you can't keep going. Write these out now! Tape them everywhere.
- I am a strong person, and I am worth this much (time or money or both or other)
- When I look after myself first, I am better positioned to look after others
- My mental health is my happiness and wealth!
Remember too that if you are struggling, you are never alone. Always look for help. No person is an island, reach out, talk to someone, take the first step.