top of page
  • Claire Sheehan

Put your mask on first - why I do what I do. Inspiration from Patti Digh

Patti Digh is one of the people who just inspires me when they write. I have several of her books and love the way that they mix artwork and writing as it takes me deeper into the work. I hugely recommend checking her books out. There have been several key times in my life where one of the pieces I have read in her book as made such a mark, resonated so much, that it has led to a huge new way of thinking or underpins the changes I have made.

Life is a verb is a beautiful book that is all about "37 days to wake up, be mindful, and live intentionally". The piece on "Put your mask on first" under pins the kind of work I do and is a huge inspiration to me as a mama to twins trying to find out who I am now that I am a mama and trying also to make my path as a successful creative.

I truly believe as a mama there can be so much guilt about anything which doesn't revolve around your children. But if we don't have the energy to look after ourselves, who are we serving? When I get a migraine, if I am too ill to look after myself how am I going to manage with two very active and chatty 5 year olds? So I've learnt to look after myself better. It's an ongoing process. It doesn't happen overnight, but having the belief that I am worth this investment in myself and am worthy OF MY OWN and ON MY OWN means I know I need to feed my own soul so I have the energy to feed and look after the souls and day to day details of looking after my family.

It's more than that for me, it's the thing that led me into painting and into the work I am doing now. I have had a lifelong interest in self development and self awareness and was a fairly early reader of coaching books (which led to me getting coaching and later to being trained as a coach myself). When I had the boys and was on maternity leave I found it vastly harder than I imagined. Two tiny people at that point totally reliant on me. I knew to be my best self I needed something for me, some time to myself, some time to get some space so that I could then be the best mama I could be. Not only that, but we knew it as a family and made some changes so we could make this space to do something just for me, my painting courses and painting time.

The put your own mask on first analogy comes from an airplane and putting on your own oxygen mask before you can help others. When we stop and consider it, it feels odd at first like of course we must help others first. But if we don't have the breath we need, the energy we need, we can't go on and help others. It's also why I now create on the theme of selfcare, as it's so part of my own story. And I know it is an ongoing story that sometimes I will be good at sometimes I will need some help with, and sometimes I will need to gently guide myself back to a good place with.

To find out more about Patti Digh visit her website here.

bottom of page