Help yourself, first. Good advice?

It’s a crazy suggestion. Yet, all airlines advise us to put on our own oxygen mask first before looking after our children! This is so contrary to every parenting instinct. Is it bad advice?

I started thinking about this in the context of Health and Happiness.

Through my own life, there have been times when I was forced to choose between exercising, and doing something with my children. From my introduction, and if you knew how important my children are in my life, you may guess that I often skipped exercise to be with them.

Actually, I always tried to do both. But, as you’ll know from your own life, this isn’t easy.

So, I often put my children first, ahead of my own health. That sounds like the right thing to do, right?

I now believe this is wrong.

Today, I prioritize my own healthy habits. This leaves me in a position to help my children. Instead of being incapacitated by a drop in cabin pressure, or by poor health and unhappiness (the latter especially), I am now better able to care for my children.

Rather than the exhausted couch potato that dragged himself home at the end of the workday, I have energy and joy to invest in them.

More important still is the fact that I model healthy behavior! Through my unequivocal commitment to exercising regularly, balancing calories, sleeping well and managing my stress, I model the behavior they need to pursue if they want to be healthy and happy (and that is my greatest wish for them).

More powerfully, they can see that I am healthy and happy. They have witnessed the rewards of the transformation in my own life, and have experienced the impact of my wellness in their own lives.

Next time you have an unavoidable choice, please consider that the “crazy” advice of the airlines may be appropriate.

Have fun,


Dr. Roddy Carter, MD, has over 30 years of experience working across a range of medical disciplines and corporate settings. 

At the height of his successful career, Roddy experienced his own health and happiness crisis. During this profoundly transformative time, he began applying his deep knowledge of performance neuroscience to his everyday life. He discovered that, in moments of trauma, the brain develops intricate psycho-protective adaptations to ensure our short-term survival; however, these adaptations often impose substantial residual limitations, create distress, and prevent us from reaching our full innate potential. 

Today, Roddy is an author and executive coach dedicated to helping others unlock their full potential by applying compassionate neuroscience and sharing his unique approach to Personal Mastery™. 

To learn more about Roddy and his coaching services, and to follow his blog, visit You can find his books, BodyWHealth and Sunset Lessons, on Amazon.