Put your own oxygen mask on first
8th April 2019
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This week has been a challenge.  I changed my name and diversified my business, launched a new website, posted on social media and networked like crazy and then … went to bed.

Whilst I knew that losing my voice and having a heavy head cold was my body telling me that now I had reached the finish line I could stop, my internal voice (the negative one) was in good form saying ‘Come on you’ve put all this work in, you’ve created an audience, you’ve expended all this effort – don’t waste it now.  You should be … [fill in the space].

As a business owner or a sole trader, when it is only you, it can be a difficult thing to say ‘I’m going to take the afternoon off.” or “I’m not going to work this weekend.” or “I’m not going to answer emails after 6 p.m.” or just “I need to rest.”  We can feel the pressure of ‘having to get things done’ and the fear of what will happen if we don’t.

If you were on an aeroplane and the oxygen masks dropped down and you were with a child or a vulnerable person,  you would be advised to put your own on first.  It may be that your initial response would be to put the mask on the child first because you see them as in more need or more vulnerable than you.

Of course, the reason we are advised to do this is that if we are not breathing then we are no good to anyone.

As a therapist who tells her clients ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’ it would be ridiculous to not model that behaviour myself.  However, just because I know this stuff doesn’t mean that I find it easy!  I too have an internal negative voice telling me I should do x, y and z.

Although I did take time out, my mind was still active with the things which “I should” be doing – until I turned it around and told my negative self that the responsible, self-loving, self-caring, intelligent thing that “I should” do was rest. In the short term to take time out to get well. To put my oxygen mask on so that I could recover my health and be there for my clients long term.

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About the Author

Elaine Copeland Health & Wellbeing Consultant

Member since: 13th January 2015

Elaine is a consummate practitioner who has been working on herself and others for over 25 years. Combining her compassion and intuition with her commercial experience she has the rare ability to show...

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