Have you ever said yes, when you mean no? Of course you have. This means you are human. We have all been there. You really want to go home and relax after a long day. But, at the last minute your boss asks you if you have completed that assignment. You know you haven’t, and now you have to.

This doesn’t mean you are a slacker or incompetent. The reason you may have fallen behind is because you aren’t prioritizing. And, by prioritizing I mean prioritizing yourself.

When you take care of yourself before others, you are actually more efficient.

Sure, it would be great to save the world. But, you don’t want to kill yourself in the process. I see this all the time in my office. People get caught up in the comparison game. They think by doing more, they will be better and get ahead. That is not always the case. You may end up tired and feeling depleted. This is also known as feeling burnt out.

You know, when you start to feel resentful towards your friends and family because of their achievements. If you are feeling this way. You aren’t alone. More and more Americans are suffering from burn out. This can lead to depression or anxiety. If this goes untreated, you may need to go on a long mental health break.

The first step is saying no, instead of saying yes. And, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. This means you should feel good when you say no. This is also known as setting a boundary. Your friends and family will be more likely to respect you. This means you will have more meaningful friendships and relationships.

Here are 8 great self care tips:

  1. Stop, and take a deep breathe. This can help reduce cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. This means, close your eyes and try to clear your mind. All you have to do is breathe. Pay attention to where your breathe is in your body and follow it. This will help you stay in the present.
  2. Get Moving. Studies have shown that a minimum of walking for 35 minutes a day has helped reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. You can exercise inside or outside. Try a workout that will challenge you and get your heart rate up. I like to start the day with exercise. I am much more focused and in a better mood.
  3. Set aside time for fun everyday. Even if you don’t know what it will be, just set aside time for it. Schedule time for fun on the calendar, even when you don’t think you have time for it. What are some fun things you have been wanting to do, that you haven’t had time for? Start with those today.
  4. Find a place that brings you peace. Where do you feel the most calm? Is it near water or in the Redwoods? Maybe, you have a place in your house or a pet that helps you feel relaxed. Wherever it is, just go. Then, stay for a while. Clear your mind and take a few deep breathes. Stay in the present. Feel the air against your skin. Keep this memory close. Then, when you are at work and feeling stressed out you can visualize it.
  5. Get enough sleep. Research has found that when you get enough sleep you are actually happier. When you don’t get enough sleep you are more forgetful and irritable. This will effect work and home. Set up a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time. But, try not to stress over the sleep schedule. There will be times that it doesn’t work out, and that’s alright.
  6. Eat healthy foods. We live in a fast food world. There aren’t many nutrients that your body needs in fast foods. Start your day with a nutritious breakfast. Make sure you have some protein. This will help make you feel full. Add a couple of healthy snacks to your day. Like hummus with carrots. You don’t want to go the whole day without eating. Make sure to take a break for lunch. That way when you get home you won’t want to binge. This can lead to extra pounds that will be hard to take off. It’s best to prepare healthy snacks ahead of time. When you get home from the grocery store, clean your fruits and vegetables. That way they will be easy to eat, when you are hungry.
  7. Give yourself a compliment. When is the last time you complimented yourself. To some, this may sound silly or selfish. But, it can help make you feel better about yourself. This is an easy one to overlook. You could even write yourself a thank you note. You are really the one that takes care of yourself best. You know what you like. I want you to give yourself three compliment right now.
  8. And, last but not least there is always time. Everyone is in a rush to get to the top these days. I’m sure you’ve heard about all the people who have been a success overnight. Some are true, and some are not. The important thing is, that you trust in the process. We all have our own pace. Stay away from comparing yourself to others, and don’t lose yourself in the process.

I hope this article has inspired you to take care of yourself. I’ve learned to schedule some time for myself everyday. This actually helps during times of stress. I don’t feel so defensive or snap back so easily when I feel attacked. I am also less likely to blame.

If you liked this article, there are more in Taking Care Of Yourself. You will find tips that will help you create a happier life.

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on www.LessonsforLove.com to learn more about her services and expertise.

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