Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First

When I was losing weight and learning how to take care of myself, the idea of “putting on my own oxygen mask first” really resonated with me. Instead of feeling guilty about taking time to eat right and exercise, I realized that I needed to take care of myself in order to be able to take care of my family and do what needed to be done at work. Just like the flight attendants tell us, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first–only then can you really help others.

oxygen mask

When I started to make exercise a part of my daily routine, it didn’t take me long to realize that if I didn’t exercise first thing in the morning, it would be hard to take time for a workout later in the day. Work demands kept me chained to my desk all day, and I already was juggling dinner, homework, and school events in the evenings. I learned to get up at o’dark-thirty for my “rise and shine” exercise time.

Rise + Shine Alarm

I pared my morning routine down to the essentials–workout, shower, breakfast–so I could fit it all in before we had to leave the house to get the kids to school on time. Now that my kids are in college, the fear of traffic still gets me out of the house pretty early, but I have squeezed more and more into my morning routine.

Now, my days start with a walk with Tiger Lilly.

Tiger Lilly Shoe 1

When we get back from our 1 mile loop around the block, I do my own workout, and then get ready for work. I eat breakfast at home, and spend 20-30 minutes catching up on Facebook, Twitter and my favorite blogs. By the time I leave for work, I’ve usually been up for 2.5 hours!

An essay in the March issue of Good Housekeeping made me realize that my whole morning routine is my oxygen mask. The exercise time helps me take care of my body, but the social media time helps me take care of my soul. I am fortified by updates, encouragement, and inspiration from my friends and social media networks, and starting my day with things that interest me personally helps me face whatever traffic jams, work emergencies, and back-to-back conference calls the rest of the day may bring.

Do you put on your own oxygen mask first?

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11 Responses to Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First

  1. Tiff says:

    Great post! So true. It's important to look after yourself, that's for sure. You're family will appreciate it even if it takes them a while to notice what's really going on.

  2. Carrie says:

    Love this. Perfect words for a Monday morning to remind me that taking care of myself *and* setting a good example for my family is the best thing I can do.

  3. Yum Yucky says:

    I'm all about self-oxygenating first. But sometimes if I go to bed too late, my mask ends up with whole in it the next morning. Grrrr. I'll be in bed by 11pm tonight.

  4. Kate says:

    You've encouraged me to get up at 5am again to workout. I slept in today, made all sorts of excuses and now feel under pressure to get my run in. 5am workouts are far better and help me, as you. I love this analogy though, definitely inspiring!

  5. christineyu69776410 says:

    Such a great post. I know that I have to take time to take care of myself and that if I don't, I won't do a good job taking care of anyone else. But I hadn't thought about it as "putting on my oxygen mask first" – Love that idea. I do but I think that I need to do a better job of securing my oxygen mask. It's gotten a bit askew lately.

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  7. Tina says:

    I'm a BIG believer in this concept and always, always make time for myself. Part of why I get up early and why I workout.

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