BE THERE FOR YOURSELF: YOUR SELF-CARE CHECKLIST

We keep in touch with friends, run errands for elderly family members, help our children with homework, and pick up the dry cleaning for our spouses. In our daily lives we spend a significant amount of time in the service of others, but how much time do we spend taking care of ourselves?

In the past, women who went to a day spa or indulged in a girl's weekend away could have been considered selfish. Oftentimes, women felt guilty if they did not spend all their time taking care of their family or working towards furthering their career. But times have changed, and we understand better now the importance of taking some down-time for ourselves. We realize that we can't appropriately take care of others if we don't take care of ourselves as well.

Even though we understand the importance of "me time", it's still difficult for women to do. Here are a few tips to help you take a step back from the hustle and bustle of life and allow you to focus a little more on your personal well-being. These actions can help relieve stress, help you become more focused, and increase your sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. Try to incorporate just a few of these strategies into your life.

Just Say No
Women have a natural tendency to want to make people happy. Sometimes that means we inadvertently overextend ourselves, which in turn causes us to feel overwhelmed.

"Can you bring in a dozen cupcakes for the class tomorrow?"
"Oh sure, no problem!"

"I need to have that report on my desk first thing in the morning."
"Yes sir, you got it!"

This is something that you can easily control by setting boundaries and simply starting to say "no" every once in a while. It's okay if you can't commit to every request. Prioritize what matters, and if the request is not a priority, let others know with a simple statement – "I'd really like to help, but right now I have a lot on my plate and can't prioritize your reqest."

Find Your Niche
Take the time to sit down and have a pep talk with your true self and be honest. Ask yourself, "What is it that I really want out of life? What are my most meaningful goals and aspirations?" Many people get caught between what they feel they should be doing and what they want to be doing. Go with your gut, follow your heart, and reach for the stars. Life will become much more rewarding.

Make a To-Do List Each Morning
If you wake up in the morning in an instant state of panic because the list of things you need to accomplish is overwhelming you, it's time to get organized. Making a to-do list of your most urgent five tasks for the day is a great way to put things into perspective and ease any feeling of being overwhelmed. You could even do a list for the morning and one for the afternoon if you have a lot of tasks to accomplish. Breaking things down into easier to manage pieces makes life more organized and much less stressful.

Stick to a Timeline
We've all done it...stopped by our favorite social media page "just for a minute" and ended up spending a good part of the next three hours discussing kitten memes and new wallpaper for your best friend's bathroom. Distractions are everywhere, and by setting time-centered goals and sticking to a timeline your day will automatically become less stressful. Give yourself a certain amount of time to finish a task, and then aim to achieve that goal. You can even allow yourself a bit of time to dabble on social media, just make sure you stick to your timeline and don't overdo it or you will fall behind.

Schedule in You-Time Each Day
No excuses...this is a must-do! Whether you take a morning walk or simply linger in the shower a little longer, taking time to relax and decompress is absolutely one of the most important things you can do for your overall well-being. If meditation is your thing, try using part of your lunch hour to tap into your Zen and realign your focus for the day. Are you a yoga buff? Keep your mat under your desk and work in a few downward dogs between clients. You could even just light an aromatherapy candle at your desk to ease the tension. Whatever you choose, be sure to show yourself a little bit of love each day.

What are some things you have incorporated into your life to increase your feeling of well-being and decrease feelings of being overwhelmed? Do you do yoga at the gym? Get a massage every two weeks? Read a book? We'd love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below.