Well being

Oxygen masks will drop automatically from overhead

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in a recent interview said that she was “existing but not living”.  This is such a sad statement, especially considering she is a young Mum of a gorgeous little boy.  But I guess any parents may recall the newborn – toddler period when sleep deprivation had meant you might look like you’re awake but you’re barely functioning unless fueled by caffeine and carbohydrates and the thought of a glass of wine as soon as the little darlings fell asleep.  But Meghan isn’t talking about sleep deprivation as a result of having a young baby, is she? I really hope that whatever your views on the royal family, their privileges and their roles, you would, like me have sympathy for the position she finds herself in.  She is a person; she has real feelings and emotions.  She is feeling like the life she is currently living isn’t life in its fullness.  There is something fundamentally wrong with it, which is unsettling for her, her family and probably those who work with her.  I think I know what she means, but in circumstances that relate personally to me.  Some of you from what I see and read on twitter, I’m sure can also identify with her. 

When people are struggling and they tell me a bit about what is going on in their life, I’ve often in the past retold the oxygen mask metaphor – just before we take off on a flight, the flight attendants go through the safety announcement, which includes reminding you to put on your own oxygen mask first before you help someone else. This is then used as a metaphor to encourage people to look after themselves, especially if they’re running around supporting and helping others. Whilst this metaphor really does bring home the fact we need to look after ourselves before we can look after others, the oxygen masks in a plane are only there in case of emergency, we shouldn’t need to wear them during a normal flight, or in this case normal day to day life. Maybe I need to stop using that metaphor, but I find it interesting that it would appear that some of us are wearing “oxygen masks” to cope with normal life not saving it until the emergency. Worse whilst wearing our oxygen mask, we know people who seem to have the ability to suck every last ounce of oxygen out of our tank just like we all know someone who seems to add to our tank plus bring out a great quantity of laughing gas for us all to enjoy and make the time pass well. If you are relying on an oxygen mask to cope with normal life – when did it last have its compliance check and annual refurbish? what if your oxygen system appears to be ok, but there’s an undiscovered leak somewhere in the system? It makes it very hard for you or others to read the oxygen gauge and correct the imbalances. So, this October half term, if you’ve been wearing an oxygen mask for a bit, take it off and then try ticking off as many of the following I found doing a simple internet search. If you’ve not been wearing an oxygen mask to cope with normal life – good for you…these suggestions won’t harm ya in fact I guess you’re doing some or all of them regularly already!

  • read a book…for pleasure
  • exercise
  • say NO to activities or people who drain you
  • take a class
  • talk to friends on the phone
  • schedule time to do nothing
  • take a bath
  • take a walk in nature
  • meditate
  • listen to music that makes you happy
  • spend time with people you love or like
  • put candles out for dinner
  • buy fresh flowers
  • use positive self-talk
  • eat good food

I would also add for those who still would prefer to wear the oxygen mask surround yourself with the people who know how to access the laughing gas, who can spot when your oxygen mask isn’t correctly fitted and gently nudge it back into place. 

Happy half term everyone!

Helen Burge

School Business Leader

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