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Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask

Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask

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Sorry in advance to those reading this on an airplane…

Let me replay a common scenario for you for a second. You’ve just boarded a plane with your two small children. After claiming your overhead bin and fending off a few elbows for an armrest, everyone takes a seat and looks forward at the flight attendant. Most of the time you’re probably too busy answering a few more texts before putting the phone on airplane mode to fully pay attention to the instructions he or she is giving.

Little did you know the flight attendant would be giving you some words to not only survive an airborne emergency by but words to live your life by.

“In the case of a drop in cabin pressure, be sure to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”

Put on your own oxygen mask first
Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post

People Depending on You?

In my six years as a personal trainer, I have worked with some pretty amazing people. Amazing in both their capacity to handle a seemingly endless sled push as well as their ability to juggle not only their own lives but the lives of several other loved ones. To many of these people, spending a few hours on their own well-being in the gym almost feels selfish. Like they’re some sort of autonomous, 24/7, endless energy source for other people.

Let me take a moment to acknowledge that I have no flipping clue what kind of commitment and energy it takes to raise one child, let alone a whole house of them. This whole blog post might come off as some sort of inexperienced gospel preaching, but I don’t mean it as such. All I’m going for here is to encourage those living life for others to simply invest in their own self in order to better help those dependents. I get it, you only have so much time in a day, so much gas in the metaphorical tank, but eventually you have to refill!

When your back hurts and you never take the time to found out why or how to make things better, how in the heck do you expect to pick up your small child and put that little guy in a car seat? You might even have an aging parent or grandparent that has a hard time getting up the stairs. I can almost guarantee you both would be better off if you invested an hour or two a week on your own body and physical well-being. Not only would you be one heck of a spotter for them, you might even be able to pass on some healthy movement advice you’ve received from your trainer? Just sayin’…

Again, this post is purely opinion, a relatively naive one at that.

Practice What You Preach

We’ve all been hit over the head with this one, but practicing some self-application on what you prescribe to others is important. I used to think it was some sign of weakness if you took a day off or went on a vacation but now I almost feel like I’m giving my clients an inferior product if I never invest in my psychological well-being. If you haven’t rolled your eyes yet during this post, this is probably the moment you will. The preconceived notion that wanting to take a day off has some obscure inverse relationship with intestinal fortitude is, in my opinion, an outdated one. To me, thinking that your surrounding world will crumble without you seems a bit ostentatious and borderline indicative of a lack of confidence in your place in that world. I’m probably diving too far down the rabbit hole on a topic that I honestly have no sort of expertise in.

But I digress.

Bottom line, help others by first helping yourself. Creating a better version of yourself will then increase the potential you possess for helping loved ones. It could be something as simple as going for a walk in the evening to process the day’s happenings, so you can free up your attention during dinner for conversation. I’m as guilty of this as the next person, so I too, need to practice what I preach about practicing what I preach, or something like that?

To Those Dedicated to Work

There are certain instances in which your occupation demands you be present, answer an email, take a call, or stay up late to hit a deadline. Identifying an hour here or there to disconnect from technology, get a good workout in, or have a nice coffee break with an old friend, can all go a long way in restoring the balance necessary for a productive day’s work. Notice that I used the word “productive” and not “busy”. Someone can be moving at a frenetic pace with discombobulated thoughts and processes and appear busy, but to be productive takes balance and mindfulness.

To Those Dedicated to Relationships

I get it, kids need your attention, your significant other needs emotional support after a long day’s work, your parents haven’t seen you in a few weeks, and your weekly softball team is counting on you. Sometimes less is more, though. It seems counterintuitive, but any team or network of individuals is only as strong as its weakest link. Rather than running yourself increasingly thin and dividing your limited energy into smaller and smaller rations, reevaluate the most important relationships and give more to less.

To Everyone in Between

Trying harder is often times a futile effort. Dedicate more of that effort to developing a deeper understanding of the energy you possess, which elements of life need it the most, and most importantly how you can replenish.  Pause life for a second and take a deep breath.


But not before you secure your own oxygen mask.


Yours in Wellness,


Prevention over Treatment