photo of an airline oxygen mask
Remember to take care of yourself first

Change your life: The oxygen mask analogy

1 December, 2014

Do you – hand on heart – take enough time out for yourself?

I’m becoming more and more convinced of how important it is to give yourself ample ‘down time’ in order to relax, switch your brain off from work and recharge your batteries.

I’ve noticed that many of the women that I work with – espe­cially those with young families – find it a real challenge to take any time out for themselves. They’ve got into the habit of putting everyone else’s needs first and can’t see how they can carve out any ‘me time’.

The self-employed can be equally challenged. I know only too well the perils of running your own business – how all consum­ing it can be – and how very hard it can be to switch your brain off from thinking about work.

“One cannot give what he does not possess. To give love you must possess love. To love others you must love yourself.” — Leo Buscaglia

Here’s a great analogy: If you’ve flown on a commercial airliner you’ll be familiar with the ‘oxygen mask’ demonstration and you’ll probably have noticed that they always instruct you to make sure that your own mask is fitted before seeing to your children? Well, in life the same principle applies.

You NEED to take care of yourself first in order to be able to care for those around you – be it your family, your friends or your clients. You just can’t work as effectively if you’re exhausted and drained.

So, for the next week, see if you can find a way to make some space for yourself – you may have to get a bit creative and enlist the help and support of others – family, friends – to allow you to have some ‘down time’ – even if it’s just a Sunday morning or an evening to yourself.

Put on your oxygen mask, breathe deeply, and have a great week!


  • Annabel Sutton is a Professional Certified Coach and Author.  She has lived in Los Angeles and Indonesia; survived earthquakes and riots, lived with head-hunters and enjoyed a portfolio career.  She now enjoys a somewhat quieter life in Somerset!  Her latest book, 52 Ways to Transform Your Life (Weekly Wisdom for Busy People), contains 52 inspiring, quick-to-read life tips and is available from . Find more information at