“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”
The premise of this safety message is that in order to properly take care of the people around you must first take care of yourself.
Not all of us fall under the official definition of a “frontline or essential worker” but for many of us our current situation and details of our life are reminiscent of one, valiantly showing up daily for these unpredicted new roles in life. Parent have become teachers, teacher have taken on the dual role of eTeaching and teaching traditionally, some have taken jobs in which they are overqualified for, families have become caregivers, chefs, DYIER’s people are isolated from their friends and loved ones. With new lifestyle changes we have seen an uptick in the most undesirable instances which include but are not limited to individual financial distress, disruption of world trade, increased suicide rates, substance abuse, mental health disorders and addictions to an unhealthy ways of life. The effects of Covid 19 coupled with the evident division of what is ironically coined the “United” States of America has permitted anxiety and depression to become woven into the very fabric of America at an unprecedented rate.
Many may wonder what can be done if anything to overcome these perils in order to get back to our mental wellness, that was more evident pre pandemic. We can begin by showing ourselves compassion. Kristen Neff describes self-compassion as treating ourselves as we would a good friend by being nurturing and forgiving, by being supportive and understanding. In being understanding and forgiving of ourselves we open the door for significant positive energy and stability. The incorporation of healthy habit such as eating right, getting an adequate amount of sleep and exercise also play an important role in regulating your mental health. Recognizing triggers and identifying positive coping skills are also ways in which to take care of yourself.
Learn to look at your body as a pressurized cabin in which conditioned air is pumped into an aircraft in order to create a safe and comfortable environment for passengers and crew flying at high altitudes. The uncertainty in our lives can be viewed as “high altitudes” and our end goal is to create a safe and comfortable environment around us. Remember “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.” Because without a functioning you there cannot be a functioning them.
Leo Sher, The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates, QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, Volume 113, Issue 10, October 2020, Pages 707–712, https://doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcaa202