Oxygen Masks and the Big Easy

Guest Post, by Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD

In the unlikely event of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first.  It’s a saying that’s standard for air-travel and has become a common cliché for life in general.

Taking care of ourselves is often associated with getting more sleep, eating less of the wrong kinds of foods and more of the right ones, moving our bodies to our personal limit, finding the right work/leisure balance, considering our kids’ needs as well as our ownmanaging our reactions to things, and sometimes doing things that are not so fun.  Not so fun at all.

Or maybe it’s just that they aren’t so “easy”.  We like “easy” much better.  “Easy” is quicker.  “Easy” is familiar.  And “easy” keeps us stuck.  I suppose as long as we are comfortable, we’ll keep choosing “easy”.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that “easy” doesn’t give us results, though.  It always does.   Not usually the ones we say or believe we want, but “easy” always bears fruit.

Do you like what “easy” has done for you?  Or, is it time to give “easy” the boot?

A Fond Farewell

Sometimes our better judgment starts to crowd “easy” out.  Those of us that are lucky get wake-up calls that help us bid a fond farewell to “easy” as we usher in a new relationship with the real work of self-care.  Cultivating this new relationship can be difficult or not.  It’s entirely up to us.

Bidding adieu to our habits, even though we know they are counterproductive, is often difficult.  Our brain craves consistency.  It wants us to do what we’ve always done.  Change requires that we desire a different result, one that can only be had by doing something different than we are used to doing.  It has been said that when the pain of doing what we have always done starts to become great enough, then we will change.  Sometimes, we can withstand a lot of pain.  And then some.

The Voice is a Choice

That voice in your head can tell you “I hate exercise!” or, “My body enjoys each new move that brings it toward health!” Likewise, that same voice in your head can drone, “This is never going to work!” or, “I’m sticking with this because I’m worth it.”   This is where the rubber meets the road.   Are you ready to do the real work of self-care, or do you just like the idea of it?

That voice in your head is a choice.  It is your own and you direct it.

Proverbial oxygen masks are easy.  Doing the real work of self-care is not necessarily so easy at all.

Have you been holding out on yourself?  Is it time to come “un-stuck” and be more intentional with the voice inside your head?  What do you need to change-up?

Self-Care Tip:  Be intentional about getting what you want from yourself.  You can start anytime!

Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD, is a mom of three school-aged children, a Child & Family Therapist (practicing in Michigan), and the founder of Kidlutions: Solutions for Kids, because kids have problems, too.  She blogs at Spin-Doctor Parenting {and teaching} and is the behavioral health expert for momtourage.com.  She monitors the voice in her own head and works to get herself “un-stuck” just as sure as everyone else does. She smiles through it all, because she can, and because it’s her favorite thing to do! 

10 thoughts on “Oxygen Masks and the Big Easy

  1. Thanks for the wake up blog. I can say that it is easier for me to read this being less stressed now than say one or two years ago. I hope to send this blog to my young adult children who are making their way in the world.


    • Patty,

      Yes, stress certainly has a habit of standing in our way, doesn’t it? Now worries, though, because we are always in the state of “becoming” what we will be next (or how we will think and, therefore, act next). Sometimes the “precontemplative” phase lasts longer in some instances than in others. Cultivating action is a skill we improve upon over time. I work just as hard as the next person on that! It’s nice not to have to travel alone!



  2. Easy isn’t always easy, either. The guilt that is almost always goes along with doing the “easy” thing is often more painful than what we’re trying to avoid by doing what’s “easy”. Ah, the web we weave about ourselves!

    Good subject. Thanks.


  3. Yes, Nancy, the flip side of “easy”. I suspect it all boils down to which “pain” we most want to avoid. One keeps us right where we are and the other propels us into a new and unknown place. One kind of pain may be familiar and comforting (and lasting) while the other may take us places or give us things we do not believe we deserve. A very deep concept to consider!

    Thanks for your comment!



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