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Be Your Own Priority!

Being busy is a common problem for many people. Unfortunately, the person that suffers the most from a busy schedule is you. Regardless of your age and stage in life, it can be challenging to stay connected to your own needs. Life balance is important, and learning how to practice self-care has many benefits. Here are some tips to help you make yourself a priority.

Focus on yourself before others

If you’ve ever flown in an airplane, you’ve probably learned how to use an oxygen mask in case of an emergency. At takeoff, the attendant typically explains that in the event of a sudden change in cabin pressure, you should put the mask on yourself before helping others. This analogy should carry over to your life as well.

Helping others is important, but you won’t be able to care for others if you’re run-down and not looking after yourself. Health experts say that, “over-caring” can work against you, draining your ability to care for yourself and others. The energy you need to meet your varied responsibilities and roles comes from the center of caring for yourself. However, it is possible to strike a balance between the needs of others and yourself, it’s just a matter of prioritizing. You don’t have to be a self-sacrificer!

Balance your “wants” and “shoulds”

Stress experts say that everyone needs a balance between their “wants” and “shoulds”. When your days are loaded on the “should” side, it creates pressure, stress and often, the craving for “a little treat” to cope with the anxiety. On the other hand, you might be the type of person who fills their weekdays with “shoulds” and waits for the weekend to complete the “wants”. Either way, both types of thinking can lead to a diet lapse. From a life-balance standpoint though, it’s best to thread your “wants” into each day of the week. Giving yourself 15 minutes to do a crossword puzzle, call a friend or play with your dog are a few examples of “wants”.

Practice self-care

Taking care of yourself is important for many reasons, especially if you often put others first. Self-care can help with your physical and emotional health and can make you a better caretaker. Here are some ways to practice self-care and make yourself a priority:

● Take a relaxing bubble bath. Add scented candles, dim lighting and soothing music.

● Get a massage, manicure or pedicure.

● Read a few chapters of your book.

● Try a relaxing exercise or activity like walking, swimming or yoga.

Mastering the balance of everyone’s needs with your own is a valuable skill to master, and it starts with taking care of yourself first. After you learn to manage your priorities, you may find yourself functioning better in all of your roles -- parenting, partnering or professional.