When is the last time you treated yourself to some serious "Me Time?" Can you recall the last time you shut the world out, put other people's needs aside, and truly focused on yourself? Contrary to what society tells us, self-indulgence is not a dirty term. Putting your own health, happiness and sanity first is not just okay -- it's necessary!

When I talk about self-indulging, I don't just mean taking candlelit bubble baths or going for expensive massages (although those are wonderful ways to relax!). But, something as simple as a morning walk can do wonders for your body and your brain. There are numerous health benefits that come into play when you start taking care of yourself and your body. Did you know something as simple as a good night’s sleep can actually help prevent disease? Chronic sleep deprivation and exhaustion cause a release of stress hormones, which causes your blood sugar to rise, in turn heightening your risk for diabetes and heart disease. Scary stuff, huh? Plus, sleeping well does wonders for your skin and also aids in weight loss (always a great bonus!).

Exercise is another wonderful way to get some "Me Time" in, and it also obviously provides great health benefits. But, here’s one rule: you must eliminate the notion that working out is punishment. So many of us tell ourselves, “I’m going to eat three slices of pizza and then go run five miles!” That logic doesn't work. Know why? Because it connects exercise to a negative connotation. If you can view working out as a chance to reboot your brain, you'll be golden.

Many of us, especially women, are taught to be caretakers. Whether it's caring for our children, our partner, our parents or our pets, we're taught that everyone else's wellbeing comes first. And, for those of us who don't reserve time for our own needs, we're doing much more damage than we think. It's okay to say "no" to others when you just can't take on another task. That phone call, that needy co-worker, that pile of laundry -- it'll all be there when you come back. Taking time out to revive and recharge makes us stronger and more able to care for others when it counts most. 

So, let's let go of the notion that putting ourselves first is selfish. Let's start focusing on our own health and happiness, and let's start doing things that make ourselves happy. Because, if we don't, who will? 


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