Whenever we go on a plane to go on holiday, we always hear something like: “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

Why are we told this? On a plane it’s an important rule for ensuring survival – because if you run out of oxygen yourself, then you won’t be able to help anyone else with theirs.

In our day to day working lives, in order to be able to look after others, (family, friends or work colleagues), we need to look after ourselves first. Creating time to look after ourselves – our physical and mental health – is key to our happiness and wellbeing, and of benefit to others.

We are hearing a great deal about our need to move more – whether that be in a structured form of exercise or just getting up regularly from sitting at a desk, and how movement benefits the physiological functions in our body – it is prolonged inactivity that increases the health risks of heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and bone/joint health.

What exercise and movement also does is to impact positively on our cognitive abilities and mental health. At a time when we need to “feel and be on top of things” exercise and movement can lift our mood – we have our own opiates in the form of endorphins – that help us to feel better.

If you have a responsibility to look after others, in whatever capacity that might be, let go of the guilt and find time to move or exercise regularly; even exercise-snacks during the day will help. There are also numerous studies that show how regular activity improves the time and quality of our sleep.

So, the next time you put off moving to get just one more email sent – don’t – get up and move and know that by putting your oxygen mask on first, you will better be able to help others.