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Put on your own oxygen mask on first

Every time we are in a plane about to take off, the safety briefing advises us to put our own oxygen mask on before helping others. While this is good advice in a crisis, it is also good advice for avoiding one.

All too often in our professional and personal lives, we put the needs of our staff, stakeholders, spouses and children ahead of our own. While sometimes this is necessary, unless we look after ourselves we will not be in a position to look after others.

Personally, this means keeping ourselves physically well, eating well, doing regular exercise and getting enough sleep. Professionally, try to keep learning, pay attention to professional networks, and keep your qualifications and CV up-to-date.

Easy to say, but challenging to do.

I put reminders in my phone – not just for appointments, but also for exercise, and even meditation! Professionally, I have two mentors who help me with challenging decisions, and to remind me to focus on what I need for myself. In return, I mentor and coach others to help them maintain their focus as well.

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