Author, Becky Henry, CPCC, ACC
Writes about her experiences as the premier coach for parents and other caregivers of those with eating disorders.
Those of you who know me know I go on airplanes a LOT. I have heard crews talk about putting on our oxygen masks before assisting others more times than I can count. The thing is, even though I have heard this message so many times, I don’t doubt that if I was in a plane that was having an emergency and the masks came down in front of me and a small child I would still be tempted to put theirs on first. WHY? Instinct. Especially when it is our child or loved one. We are hard-wired to protect our offspring. Think “Mother Tiger” or “Momma Bear.” Hopefully if it ever does happen, the voices of so many airline crews will pop into my head and say, “PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST!!”
So with this instinct to put our safety and potentially our life aside to save our child how do we override that and why should we?
If you think about running a marathon (and caregiving someone with an eating disorder has often been compared to a marathon rather than a sprint) you would never do it if you’d been completely wiped out and not training for it. Many people train for a marathon for months getting into prime shape to take on such a grueling endeavor. This is no different. When you are in peak shape emotionally and physically then you’ll be ready to be a primo caregiver.
What is one small step you can take today to begin filling your cup and getting that oxygen mask in place so you can be a calm, compassionate, competent caregiver tomorrow?