Between the constant demands of work, school, family, and friends, do you find that you just don’t have the time to take care of yourself?  Exercise, eating right, or taking time to unwind is an unattainable goal because there just aren’t enough hours in the day, or you are just spread so thin that you think you don’t have the energy for anything else?  It is time to re-evaluate your priorities!  Taking care of your body (and mind) can make you healthier and happier, give you more energy to accomplish your daily tasks, and even make you sleep better.

Not enough time to take care of you?  Nonsense!  Check out these ways to put YOU on your to-do list:

Schedule time for yourself

That’s right – put yourself on your calendar.  Carving out a specific time slot for exercise will make you more likely to do it.  You may have trouble at first because it seems easy to cancel plans with yourself, but strive to stick to the schedule and eventually it will become a habit that you don’t want to break.

Double Duty

Every little bit of exercise counts.  Even 5 minutes of brisk walking several times a day can add up, so find opportunities where you can.  You’ve heard all these tips before, but they are very useful: Park as far from the door as possible when you go shopping and take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Have a tv show that you don’t want to miss?  Get up and move while  watching, even if you are only walking in place.  Clean house at a faster pace than normal to bring up your heart rate.  Any movement is beneficial!

Eliminate Time-Wasters

We spend hours each day doing things that have no benefit; try to recognize these common time-wasters and remove them from your day.  Instead of checking your email every few minutes, designate a few times a day to check and respond.  Plan ahead so you don’t spend extra time running unecessary errands.  Delegate chores to your spouse and children.  You may be surprised at how simple it is to carve out a little extra time each day!

Become an Early Bird

Rushing in the morning is stressful and can set the tone for the entire day.  Many of us get up too late, skip breakfast, and frantically hurry to make it to work on time, then wonder why we don’t feel energetic and happy.  Try to set your alarm a bit earlier and fight the urge to hit the snooze button – those extra minutes awake will be far better for you than the few extra minutes of sleep.  Take just a few minutes to watch the sunrise, meditate, or do yoga.  Keep healthy foods on hand and eat something each morning.  Get up early enough to work out in the morning and you will have increased energy and stamina all day, not to mention a better attitude!

Involve the Family

Don’t feel guilty or selfish about spending time exercising – have your family participate, too.  If you have children, play with them!  Toss a ball, play tag or hide-and-go seek, or have a water gun fight; all these things are great ways to increase your heart rate and burn calories.  Going on walks with your spouse offer excellent opportunities to connect and talk.  Find activities that the whole family can enjoy together, and fitness is no longer a chore but something everyone looks forward to.

Making time for YOU is not only important for your overall physical health, but can really benefit your mental health, too.  Make taking time for yourself a habit, and see how much better you will feel and how much more you can accomplish!