If you’ve ever flown, you likely have heard some variation of this abbreviated announcement before takeoff:
“In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will appear in front of you. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first and then assist the other person.”
Each time we hear this, the flight attendant is imparting us with an ageless lesson and a friendly reminder of prioritizing ourselves. Attaching our mask first before helping someone else is not selfish — it’s imperative.
However, this message isn’t solely relevant to flying. It relates to life as well. We cannot help, lead, direct and love others to our utmost ability if we don’t first show up for ourselves and prioritize our self-care.
Countless scholars and researchers have attempted to explain self-care. Although there is no solid definition, self-care comes down to the active and deliberate process of cultivating ourselves while mindfully concentrating on our inner health, environment, behaviour, anxiety, and triggers. Dedicating time to invest in ourselves allows us to constructively impact our well-being while enhancing our social, mental and physical health.
As leaders, teachers, parents, coaches, positive difference-makers and agents of change, we pour into others every day. But we need to make sure we’re also committing that same level of time, energy, support and nurturing care into ourselves.
Self-care will look different to each of us but always encompasses re-immersing ourselves back into the present moment. Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. Instead, it’s a transformative act of self-preservation that’s ultimately necessary to bring our whole and authentic selves to the centre stage of the spaces we navigate. Without self-care, we can’t wholly tap into our unique superpowers of validity and vulnerability. Self-care blesses us with the opportunity to foster our spirit and our narrative. While it’s easier to look past ourselves for answers and validation, self-care always begins within.
Every day, we’re awarded the gift of life to serve without fear and to nurture our dreams. Today, let’s concentrate on the present, not yesterday or tomorrow. As we cultivate these moments, let’s make sure we find time to detach from the outside hustle and bustle, the mental babble and the connectivity of our devices. Let’s use that time to encourage our development and focus on self-discovery and self-care by reconnecting with ourselves.
Mindfulness encompasses our daily life the same way the pre-flight announcement before takeoff does. Today we have an opportunity to look up, smile, breathe deeply and continue on.
Never stop believing, asking the question ‘Why?’
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