About that oxygen mask

Jan 23, 2024

I vividly remember the first time I traveled on an airplane as a young adult, and I actually listened to the pre-flight instructions. I was shocked, as I realized that instinctively I would have been the person to assist someone who was struggling with the mask before I put mine on. The potential consequences of doing that were drilled into my head that day. 

This analogy is much used in the realm of self-care, but I think it bears revisiting. Because it reminds us so graphically that self-care is not selfish. 

Yet when the chips are down and we are navigating personal or global crises, often we negotiate ourselves away from self-care. “I’m too busy this week to exercise - I’ll pick it up again next week.” “My family needs me - I don’t have time to 

We talk ourselves out of self-care because we are caring for others. 
We talk ourselves out of self-care because we are too overwhelmed. 
We talk ourselves out of self-care for all manner of reasons. 

But if we care about others, if we care about the world we live in, caring for ourselves is caring for others. 

Years ago, when a close friend was struggling with the demands of raising young children, she came up with the mantra “What’s good for the parent is good for the child.” Wise words. 

Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is essential so you can continue to show up in your life for those you love and do the work you are here to do. 

The way you care for yourself during times of extreme demands likely will not be the same as in times of ease. But don’t forfeit it. 

Guard your self-care with the same fierceness that you guard and protect those you love, with the same fierceness you give to work you do to make the world a better place. 

Kirstin Lindquist

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