In moderation, there's nothing selfish about being selfish. Quite the contrary: Putting ourselves first means we make sure there's enough of us to go around, and in good enough shape. You can't take care of others when you're running on empty. Besides, you deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else, and that means having time to relax and to spend as you please. So go ahead and be a little selfish — it'll do everyone good.
1. Say no freely. You know what you have time for and what you don't, what you care about and what's unimportant. If someone asks you to do something and you instantly feel tight in the chest, that's your cue to bow out.
2. Be uninformed. If watching the news every night stresses you out, you're not alone. Hearing about horrific crimes, genocide and starvation does more than pull at your heartstrings: It raises your stress levels to the point where you're more likely to give into temptation, such as overeating or drinking too much. For your health, turn the news off.
3. Make time for exercise. Even if it means leaving the office early or dropping the kids off with the babysitter, making time to exercise is one of the best moves you can make. And if it means that important project has to wait until tomorrow or your kids will have a sugary after-school snack, so be it.
4. Get a massage. Professional massages are expensive, and they require you to get away from your family and ignore your to-do list. Is it worth it? Absolutely. The stress relief you get from a massage will help you live longer and be happier in the process.
5. Eat real food. Yes, it costs more and takes longer to prepare than fast food, but what you put in your body has a huge impact on how you feel and perform. Eating quality food is definitely worth the time and expense, so be as selfish as you like when it comes to making time to prepare healthy meals.
6. Care a little less. It can be hard to let go when you want things done a certain way, but giving up the reins to others and not caring if things aren't perfect is unbelievably freeing.
7. Spend time with friends. Most of us have to-do lists a mile long, and the older and busier we get, the more friendships go on the back burner. But maintaining important friendships does wonders for our health, even if it's at the expense of not doing a couple loads of laundry, or setting the kids in front of the TV while you have some adult time.
If you still can't wrap your head around how being selfish can be good for others, think of the example you're setting for your kids, coworkers or other important people in your life. You want them to treat themselves with respect, so you have to first model how to do so.