airplaneoxygenmasks-1161There I was racing to the subway; balancing my handbag, luggage and walking up and down those dreadful stairs to and from the platform. After two subway trains and a fifteen-minute AirTran; I finally found myself at Newark International Airport checking into a flight to North Carolina. I smiled as I gave my drivers license and boarding pass to the Transportation Security Administration. I was on my way to a weekend of fun! It was my friend’s birthday and we had an entire weekend of events planned.

I sat on the plane, buckled myself in my seat put my headphones on and I exhaled as I could finally relax. The flight attendant stood up and with a gracious smile she began to recite the safety regulations. Then one thing she said resonated with me “ If there is a drop in cabin pressure the panels will open revealing oxygen masks; be sure to place an oxygen mask securely over your mouth and nose FIRST before assisting others”.

I thought for a second, why did these words sound so new to me today although I have heard them several times before? As a woman with two daughters, a demanding job, and many other obligations I thought to myself: “Am I as a mother… putting the oxygen mask on my face first?”

There is a theory in nursing founded by Dorothea Orem called Self Care. This theory emphasis the importance of caring for oneself in order to be healthy and helpful to others. As a doctorate prepared nurse, I know that nurses like mothers take care of others day in and day out; many times forgetting about ourselves. This is a common mistake. We have to remember that before we are wives, mothers, sisters, aunt, etc. we are a woman first.

Here are three simple changes you can make to assure that you are: “placing the mask” over your face first.

  1. Take fifteen minutes a day to meditate. My best friend sent me an app that guides you through this process. It is called “stop, breathe & think.”
  2. Exercise, you don’t have to run five miles but go for a walk, join a running group or take the staircase instead of the elevator daily.
  3. Avoid negativity; always be mindful of the energy that is in your space. Positive energy will inspire you and help you to excel.