First put on your own mask and then assist fellow passengers

I started thinking about hypoxia due to a thought that occured to me while exercising. On this particular day it had taken some convincing to get me going and I had fallen behind schedule the day before. Fresh from one of the world’s most loved holidays, Mother’s Day (or Proverbs 31 Condemnation Day to some women), I was still feeling the need to put other things and people before myself (how else does one maintain the Mother of the Year title your children and husband gave you? or Mumpreneurs Finest Award) and ignore the needs of my body. This is despite reaching the stage in my life were exercise and healthy eating are not optional extras but critical for maintaining my current quality of life.

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/
Image courtesy of phasinphoto/

Hypoxia can be described as a lack of oxygen in the body tissues due to decreased quantity and molecular concentration e.g. when air pressure drops inside an aeroplane. When it develops it is normally undetected by its victim. According to Aviation Medicine, within a few moments the victim may experience breathlessness/air hunger, excessive yawning, tiredness and fatigue, euphoria, impairment of performing recently learnt task, impairment of mental task (learnt tasks) and altered sensorium – including loss of consciousness. Before long they are in no condition to help others, let alone themselves. For this reason airlines ensure passengers are aware that they need to help themselves in order to help others.

What does ‘life hypoxia’ look like?

‘Life hypoxia’ starts with an unwell soul that gets ignored. Milder versions involve ignored physical and emotional needs. Our bodies begin to buckle and break under the stress of improper eating, insufficient exercise and rest whilst storing the emotional and psychological stress we feel. They seem to succumb to any bug floating in the air and we experience lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity along with a long list of ailments that did not seem to exist in our childhoods.

Our relationships become depleted of the joy they used to offer, replaced by the sense of being burdened. We start dreading situations and moments that should be enriching our lives. The work that was once a blessing becomes a curse. The servant has become the master and the master the servant. The smallest things set us off.

Getting back to the middle

1. Seek Him first

We allow the most serious form of ‘life hypoxia’ when we fail to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness (Matt 6:33). We tell ourselves we do all these wonderful things for the kingdom or we don’t have time and yet God first seeks a relationship with us before He seeks our “works”. We fail to put first things first. The basics that we learn in Sunday School – read your bible, pray every day, take a backseat to routines, schedules, programs, meetings and conquering the market place for a God who would rather spend time with you first. Little do we know that with every passing day our souls get dryer and a ‘God starvation’ sets in. Only He can revive our souls. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Matt 16:26)

2. Remember the Sabbath

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8). Remembering the Sabbath has two main themes – refreshing and reverencing the holiness of God (Exodus 23:12). We serve a God who commands rest – after all would the creator not know the creation best? Hard to remember when you are saving the world. Also see our article on Sabbath rest.

3. Stewarding what no one else can

Good stewardship begins with learning to look after what you already have. This includes, but is not limited to, your soul, mind and body. The parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-28, illustrates this principle. There are roles in your life no one else can play. No one can be God’s daughter on your behalf or look after your mind, body or spirit on your behalf. The more important a role is the more irreplaceable you are. Ordering your life with this in mind helps us focus on stewarding the more important things first.

Ironically remembering and practicing these 3 things allows you to excel in other areas of your life and relinquish the need to be perfect.

Question: Have you experienced ‘life hypoxia’? How are you ensuring it does not happen again?

About the Author

SMokorosi39Jolly is the Founder and CEO of Mokorosi Financial Consulting, in the recent past she was acting CEO of the Municipal Councillors Pension Fund. She has a passion for members’ rights in the pension fund industry and a desire to see women shine in the business arena. She is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she resides with the husband of her youth, Sam. Together they have five children, a grandchild and several pot plants.


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