Passenger oxygen mask deployment

Passenger oxygen mask deployment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Oxygen Mask

You might (or might not, I don’t believe my posts are amongst the most memorable things in everybody’s lives) remember I posted a few ideas, or rather, some advice, under the title ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ weeks (probably months) ago.

Of course, as it tends to happen with these things, shortly after publishing it I thought of something else I should have mentioned. Humour. I do think that trying to take things on your stride and being able to laugh at yourself and see the humorous side of things helps immensely when dealing with life. It is related to one of the ideas I suggested, trying to see things from a distance, and gain perspective. Humour is one of the strategies we have in our hands to achieve that. The small tragedies of life, seen through a humorous prism, can indeed be very funny. I remember I fell downstairs at home (I can’t blame it on anything in particular) and landed at the bottom of the stairs. There was nobody else in the house, but for unknown reasons the first thought that came to my head was that it would have been quite funny if anybody had been there to see it. And there I was, at the bottom of the stairs, by myself, laughing my head off. I twisted my ankle in the process and later discovered my radiator had sprung a leak (I suspect because I must have hit it during the fall) but it was a good laugh.

I was chatting (or rather exchanging e-mails) with a fellow author and good friend today. And we were talking about how sometimes, in the process of caring for others and supporting them, we can completely exhaust ourselves, both physically and mentally, and end up ill and unable to function. But if we don’t go all out in our care and support we feel guilty. I told her that I always tell my patients we can’t look after others if we don’t have a minimum of health ourselves and don’t look after our own needs. And I advised her to think about the training they forever repeat (and we hardly ever listen to) in planes, about what to do in emergencies. When they talk about an incident where the cabin gets depressurised and the Oxygen masks drop from the compartment above our heads they always, always, remind us that we must put our own mask on before we try and help others, because if we don’t, we won’t be in a fit state to help anybody else. Running ourselves to the ground will not help those we care for or ourselves in the long run. Don’t feel guilty for not being superwoman or superman. Never forget to look after yourself. That’s the only way you can carry on looking after others.

Thank you for reading and if you’ve liked it or found it useful, please share!