Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others

Lynn Brayblog

This time of year is when our frustrations get the better of us.  Pressures mount and we find ourselves being the only ones doing the giving. Right?

Wrong!  We are the ones not setting our boundaries clearly enough. Our need to please others doesn’t appear to be as important as our need to look after others. Note I said “looking after ourselves not pleasing ourselves”. Big difference

Signs that we haven’t set our boundaries properly

–  Chronic fatigue – exhaustion, tiredness, a sense of being physically run down

–  Anger at those making demands

–  Self-criticism for putting up with the demands

–  Cynicism, negativity, and irritability

–  A sense of being besieged

–  Suspiciousness

–  Exploding easily at seemingly inconsequential things

–  Frequent headaches and gastrointestinal disturbances

–  Weight loss or gain

–  Sleeplessness and depression

–  Shortness of breath

–  Feelings of helplessness

–  Increased degree of risk taking

What you can to put this back into balance

1.  Most importantly own the fact that you created this – people ask because you say yes

2.  Understand that you can always say “no”

3.  Learn how to say no that doesn’t imply not being helpful

4.  Say “I’d love to help however I’m fully committed with my time right now. Who else could help you”

5.  Notice how people respond when you do this – usually reasonably.

6.  Tell people around you that you have a habit of over-committing yourself and you are practicing saying no.

7.  Ask yourself “what need of mine am I serving by this behaviour?”  You might be surprised.

Remember the advice on the plane when air masks drop down –

Put your own mask on before helping others