Are you paying attention to the flight attendants?

I am quite certain that the airline industry did not set out to create one of the most widely known public service announcements on self care and mental health. And yet during the roughly 100,000 flights that take off every day around the world, most will review safety protocols that include how to respond in the event of an emergency. We’ve all heard it,“In the event of decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you…If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”THIS. Secure YOUR mask first, BEFORE assisting children or others around you. It is probably one of the most widely used analogies for taking care of yourself. It is globally known and has been transferred to infinite situations in which we are reminded that if you allow yourself to become depleted, you will lose yourself and cannot assist others. In which case, we will all suffer.

We hear it in motivational speeches, TED Talks, and podcasts. Educators will hear it on the first day during the administrative welcome back meeting and parents will be presented with this ‘advice’ in parenting books and PTO meetings. We are so familiar with it, I suspect that when you fly (which may not be that often these days!) you might even tune it out you’ve heard it so many times. And yet… how many of us actually DO it? How many of us have affixed our oxygen mask and are deeply inhaling the life sustaining air before we look around to help others? From where I stand, not many. Myself included. 

This made me wonder… how many people follow this direction when involved in an actual airline emergency? Wouldn’t that be an interesting statistic to see? When you’re suddenly thrown into chaos, air pressure dropping, plane plummeting… do you really think about securing your supports first? I have not faced an aviation emergency, but I imagine my mamma instincts kicking in and without voluntary thought, I am reaching out to help my daughters first. It’s reaction. And I react that way because I have not practiced it any other way. My “muscle memory” kicks in and I do what I have always done. I have not practiced this level of self care, so I don’t know how to call upon it when I, or rather WE, need it. 

So this week I am not inviting you to put on your oxygen mask. This week I am issuing a Call to Action. Invitations sweetly open a door and grant you permission to enter. A call to action has urgency and demands to be acted upon. PUT ON YOUR DAMN OXYGEN MASK!! We are no longer messing around. Given the challenges of our world, most of us are experiencing some level of stress, or emergency, and many of us are plummeting in chaos. WE need to do better… not just for ourselves, but to model for our children, peers and world. We cannot do something we have not practiced and mastered. 

Ok, so how? How does one secure their supports first when the plane is plummeting? First, take a really freaking deep breath. Then let it out. Now, do the things you know sustain you. Know your worth and invest time and resources in yourself. Resist the urge to say things like, “I don’t have the time” or “I can’t afford to”. You do and you can. Make tough choices that value YOU! And then… REACH OUT. Gather your people, find your tribe and share your authentic struggles. Ask for help when you need it. Be brave. 

Not sure where your tribe is? Take a risk and reach out to someone new. And if that’s not accessible to you, I am here!! You don’t need to hire me as a coach to ask for help (although that is an incredible declaration of worth and self love). I am here for you in any capacity you need. I can help find resources, make connections and walk with you. Your people need you, the world needs you, in all your gorgeous, fierce, courageous beauty. Put on your mask and then breathe deeply. You’ve got this.

You are SO worth it!

About Kelly Lynn

Kelly Lynn Coaching & Consulting

I empower districts to transform culture and educators to transform their lives so they are connected, fulfilled and aligned with purpose. With over thirty years experience in education and education administration, I specialize in supporting Social Emotional Learning (SEL), balance and a culture of wellness. It is my MISSION to bring joy back to education!

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