In the event of an emergency…breathe

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While sitting in a plane before take-off, we fidget, check that last text message before turning off the phone or flip through the magazine before us. Then as the plane begins to taxi to the main runway, the message on the PA system says: “Thank you for flying ______________ and we hope you enjoy your flight. Please take a moment to listen to our safety video.”

The video goes on or the flight staff demonstrate the procedures in the event of an emergency. If you have flown in the past, you might not pay attention because it is always the same message. For some, they will grab the card from the pocket in front and follow along. Others, have already fallen asleep. It is standard procedure to show the video and every single flight will provide you this reminder. However, there is a reminder embedded in the safety video that is of critical importance to our daily well-being.

In the video, they always say: “In the event of cabin de-pressurization, a mask will drop from above, pull one towards you and put it over your nose and mouth and begin to ‘breathe’. Put the mask on yourself first before putting it on the people around you.” That is the critical part…’put the mask on yourself first before you put it on the people around you’. Why? Because if you don’t quickly put the mask on yourself first, you might lose consciousness and not be able to help the people around you.

So why do the flight staff tell us this? As individuals, we try to help those around us first. In the event of any emergency, we might want to help those around us or look after their needs before even considering ours. The video provides a very powerful personal message…look after yourself first so you can then help those around you. If you don’t look after yourself, you are of no help to anyone around you. We try too hard to be everything to everyone and anyone. There are many conversations I have with individuals who feel the pressures of every day life and don’t want to let people down. They put pressure on themselves.

This safety video message on the plane applies to our mental and physical well-being. We have to take great care of ourselves because if we don’t, we are not able to help those around us. Life can get busy, challenging and difficult and before you know it, we are not sleeping right, exercising enough or eating well. All factors are related and impact each other. Slowly our body adjusts and we put on some extra weight because it is more difficult to go to the gym or work out. We might not be as flexible as we used to be, there is a pain that starts to develop that was not there before. A cold hits us and it is a bit more difficult to shake off than previous times.

Our life is made of three components – work, social/family and health. There is an importance to maintain a balance between all three. It is easy to fall into one or two of the three but if it is not three out of three, there is a need to reclaim the missing piece to the whole you. For me, I am lacking the health piece. I need to get back to working out, eating right and taking time to take my mental breaks. I have noticed that the health piece for me is lacking and the effect it is taking is starting to impact me. Nothing on a desperate level but the signs are there that if I don’t start to look after myself, there might be issues down the road. Looking in the mirror, there is the youthful self but equally, as one ages, the body shifts and changes.

So I need to grab the mask and look after myself so that I can help those around me. I am of little help to anyone if I am not looking after myself but it is a reminder to anyone that we need to focus on self first and not feel selfish about taking time off to readjust ourselves and be the best version of ourselves. You are not being selfish! Taking the mask will make us stronger and able to help more people around us. Now breathe…

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