The Art of Self-Care: Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First

Danny Arguetty
The Art of Self-Care: Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First

When I carve out time during my week to get on my mat and practice, it often feels like a breath of fresh air. Even 30 minutes of coordinated movement and breath help me feel clearer and more energized.

Yet, often the mounting to-dos start to get in the way and instead of taking care of myself, I dive into taking care of everything and everyone else.

Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First

Recently, I spent some time with a few families that have kids, and I was reminded of a very important lesson which applies to parents and non-parents alike. As I observed a parent-kid interaction spiral out of control, the familiar announcement heard on most every flight entered my mind: "Put your own mask on first before helping others."

Kids require ample attention and I know that there are many times where a bit of personal sacrifice is the right strategy to quell a brewing storm. But what about other times when putting on your own mask is the way to create the win/win?

How many people deplete themselves for the sake of others, when by taking care of their own primal needs first, they would actually be able to serve better?

For both parents and others, it is often the most basic elements that go by the wayside, and as a result create more blood sugar imbalance, mental strain, and physical exhaustion.

The Art of Self-Care

So what does putting your own mask on first look like?

Drink water throughout the day. By staying hydrated you'll be taking care of your most basic needs first. Also, make sure to eat enough to ensure your blood sugar isn't crashing. Have healthy snacks around, especially when you are ruled by your or your children's busy schedules.

Move your body for at least 30 minutes, four times a week. Yoga is perfect for this, but even walks count! Just get out and move.

Take time off from the digital screens in your life. While screens may feel relaxing, and allow you to turn "off," try and find a screen-less activity to truly take time for yourself.

Skip the TV and enact even the smallest rituals of self-care, like:

  • A bath
  • Time to clean and moisturize your face
  • Legs up the Wall with eyes covered for 5-10 minutes
  • A five minute foot massage
  • Listening to relaxing music with a cup of tea
  • Journaling

Remember, you are not really going to be much good for anyone else in your life if you are depleted, lacking energy, or are in a state of constant irritability.

Put your own mask on first, so you have enough fuel to actually support everything and everyone else in your world.

What do your self-care rituals look like? Share with the rest of the community in the comments below!