Women take care of everything and everyone usually falling asleep at night from sheer exhaustion. Shouldn’t that be enough? But it isn’t, because the most important person in that equation is being the one most marginalized.

Women are predisposed to be the caretakers of the family, no matter what role we’re playing; daughters, wives, mothers, friends. And it’s sucking the life out of us. Meanwhile, the men in our lives sometimes don’t get how much we sacrifice to make sure their lives are running smoothly

We have to take a step back and ask ourselves one fundamental question: “If we don’t start taking care of ourselves, who will?”

The answer is, no one!

Almost always, you’ll find women with too many commitments, being pulling in each and every way. These women know that they should start exercising, eating better and sleeping more. But they don’t’ know where to start.

And since they’re already overwhelmed with things to do and people to take care, they see taking care of themselves as just another “job”, so they just keep pushing it down the list.

But one of the things we don’t take into account when we neglect to take care of ourselves is that through this behavior, we’re setting the bar of how we want the people around us to treat us. You can’t expect them to put your needs first when you don’t do the same.

Here is how I started down the path to some much- needed self-care:

The first thing you need to do is to stop feeling guilty about taking time off for yourself. I know it’s easier said than done but it is necessary. I still struggle some days. However, I remind myself that it is essential for others as well because I cannot take care of them if I haven’t been taken care of.

The second thing you should do is to find the things that you like.

The third, and probably the most important, is to schedule in time for yourself just like you would any other appointment so you reduce the risk of forgetting or cancelling. This is an amazing tactic. It is intentional and it works.

The final step is putting the plan in motion. Writing all of this down on paper is great but if it’s not implemented it’s just words on paper. Don’t think of it as a selfish act, because when you’re happy and relaxed, you bring a sense of calm and contentment.

Here are a few things I have tried to do to take care of myself:

  • Take time to do something for you and only you – even if it’s just for 10 minutes each day.
  • Meet up with friends and family, or talk on the phone at least once a week.
  • Read something that inspires you – it can be a book or even a short quote.
  • Don’t be passive. Learn how to be the one in control of your life, not just react to things as they happen. This is a reflection of how emotionally stable you are.
  • Stop prioritizing others’ opinions over yours. Don’t allow anyone else’s expectations to dictate who you are and what your likes/dislikes are.
  • Make sure you look and dress in a way that boosts your confidence. You’d be surprised how this can improve your outlook. I know I was.
  • Have goals and work towards them. From the small, daily goals to the big, life-changing ones, having something to strive towards helps keep things in perspective.
  • Ask for help. This is still the most difficult for me because like many women I see myself as being able to do it all, with no outside help. But that’s not being realistic and it’s stressful. And you’ll quickly resent those you’re taking care of because the load is too heavy for you to carry on your own. No successful woman ever did everything by herself all the time – it’s just not possible. When you ask for help, it means you’re wise enough to know your limits and you love yourself and your family enough to know when it’s time to take a step back, reassess, rest then come back a happier, calmer version of yourself.

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