Even though masks are no longer required for all social situations, remember that masks serve as protection and wearing a mask is an act of self-care.
In fact, just like a surgical mask protects us from getting sick, self-care protects us from negativity, getting overwhelmed by all the demands on our time and attention, and makes us better able to manage the needs of students, family, and others in our lives.
Let’s take a look at what we can learn about caring for ourselves from the idea of wearing a mask.
We all have a lot of important responsibilities in our lives. When it comes to family and friends, we usually prioritize their needs over our own care. We might think it’s loving to put others first, and sometimes it is, but this cannot be our primary way of caring.
This point makes me think of another type of mask: the ones involved in the briefing that we get before an airplane flight. It goes something like this:
“In the event that the cabin loses pressure, a mask will drop down. Put the mask on yourself first before you help others.”
When I first heard that, I thought about how my first impulse would be to help others first. As I thought through the direction, I realized it made sense that in order to best help others, I would have to be breathing.
To be there for others, we have to be able to breathe and be calm. Putting others’ needs first all the time does not really prepare us to be there for them. We can’t be truly loving, empathic, or giving toward others if we are not being that way with ourselves first.
One of the best ways to practice self care is through relationships. Make time for that. Leave the house and go meet with a friend or friends (safely). But when doing that, make sure these relationships are healthy ones that leave you feeling replenished rather than depleted.
We all know people who drain us. When you are trying to refuel, being around those people defeats the purpose. So take a look at your relationships, try to identify the ones who are draining, and make sure they are not on your call list.
So, take time to breathe by being around those who help you to breathe better!