The Oxygen Mask Theory of Self Care

by Anna D


Most of us have been on an airplane and heard the safety warning before the flight that if the pressurization should fail you should put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help others. The same theory can be applied to life. If your busy lifestyle has you running on empty chances are you are need of some self care.

Of course one of our favorite suggestions for self care is regular exercise. The benefits of exercise are numerous, but one of the best side effects from physical activity is elevated mood and less anxiety, depression and stress. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or happen exclusively in a gym. You can make it something you really enjoy. Biking, surfing, playing frisbee with your dog, or even gardening are all great exercises for raising your spirits.


Meditation is another excellent way to care for yourself that provides relief from the stresses of every day life. There are a variety of meditation practices such as mindful, guided, and mantra. Each has their own process, but the many benefits, including decreased stress and anxiety and increased focus and self-awareness are the same with each. There are many resources such as music and recorded guidance that can help you get started in practice. The great thing about meditation is that it doesn’t take any special equipment and can be done anywhere.

Finally, one of the most effective ways to recharge your batteries and take care of yourself is to simply get outside and enjoy nature. Whether you simply enjoy a walk through your neighborhood, a stroll on the beach or a hike in the woods, getting outside in the fresh air for just 20 minutes a day has been proven to leave people feeling energized and rejuvenated.


No matter the method you choose, self care is vital to living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. While we often feel guilty for taking time for ourselves when there are so many things that we have to get done, we must remember the oxygen mask theory. You must take care of yourself first, before you can be of any help to others.

~Tawnya Caldwell

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