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"Please secure your own oxygen mask first, then help the person next to you" - self-care & habits.

When we used to travel on planes - remember those times pre-Covid and before we really questioned just how often we should fly - you'll have heard that safety announcement hundreds of times. So often you probably didn't tune it to it - but within that simple message lies a powerful metaphor and one I use with my clients frequently.

It's about the importance of #selfcare. Our human instinct is often to protect, rescue, save others - especially loved ones of course, but also sometimes to put colleagues, projects, P&Ls - before ourselves.

Self-care is not selfish, it's vital. As it's so much harder to help, support or lead others effectively if, you yourself, have no #oxygen.

So where is your oxygen coming from this year? And what are the habits you know you need to be in place for you to have the oxygen to lead and be at your best?

Think about your fundamentals of good mental health - the Healthy Mind Platter for Optimal Brain Matter as David Rock put it. Perhaps it's the physical exercise you know you need to get, or connection with certain people. Maybe it's as fundamental as getting enough good sleep or eating well. It's likely to be a combination - I always encourage my clients to think about where their own oxygen comes from.

And when we understand this - the next step is to create #habits to ensure you're getting this oxygen in your life.

So for me, one of the many things I need is to move, every day. And I like to do that most on a bike. To make this habit happen in a busy family/work dynamic, I've borrowed some of the James Clear thinking here. In brief (I recommend his book #AtomicHabits to go deeper) here's how I make sure cycling is key to my self-care:

I make it #Obvious - the time is in my diary, ringfenced, protected.

I make it #Attractive - with reminders of how good it is for me

I make it #Easy - I have my kit ready, tyres pumped the night before

I make it #Satisfying - I talk to cycling buddies about how good it feels (during our habitual mid-ride coffee stop) and share this with my loved ones too.

So, take time to think about and act on your self-care needs this year. I'd love to hear about your own habits for oxygen and how it feels to put your own mask on first.

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