Several conversations with various women in the past few months have brought to light a stressful issue that was both exhausting and frustrating for them… how to make themselves a high priority in their own lives. The demands of home, spouse, family, professional and social activities have been wearing them out. They feel squeezed out of their own lives. Did I mention that this came from many different women… a recurring theme? If you saw these women, you would recognize them as your peers… and you would probably admire them… they are chic, attractive, engaged. They seem to have it all together. And indeed they do… but at what cost? They are being pulled in so many directions at once, immersed in the details of all they juggle. Their agenda is packed, and they feel harried and hurried. All of their time is filled to the brim taking care of everyone and everything… and having to look good and pull it off with grace and aplomb.

A woman is the nucleus of the family. Everyone and everything revolves around her. If she is happy, fulfilled, well rested, and has taken good care of herself… then everyone around her feels that vibe… it ripples through all. If she is not, well… perhaps you have seen the meme:

If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy

Women are natural nurturers and givers. We have also been conditioned to take care of everyone around us and make everything organized, beautiful and perfect. But you cannot keep pouring from a vessel unless you refill it. Replenishing your energy is essential. Making your well being a high priority (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) is vital to living a happy life, enjoyment of your everyday life experience, and having healthy loving relationships.

Some women might consider it selfish to make themselves a high priority. They may pride themselves on their constant busyness… perhaps as a way of overshadowing their true feelings of other issues, or out of guilt, apathy, or disbelief about what is in their power to change. Their inability to say no, or to stop and reflect on their true feelings about whether to accept, decline, or acquiesce in any given situation… may be because their perceived role in life is so ingrained that they can’t go against or break free of it. The result is feeling stressed, grumpy, unappreciated, and sometimes even angry and resentful.

Think about this. Is it selfish to take really good care of yourself and provide the essential elements of happiness, health and well-being for yourself? To arrange your life for fulfillment, joy, happiness and health? I think not.

If you practice self care and make yourself a high priority in your own life… you begin to feel really good every day and savor and enjoy life in a much deeper and delicious way. Your relationships with your loved ones become richer and more rewarding because you are fully present to see, hear, and understand them. There is an honest exchange of thoughts, feelings and energy between you.  You have honored yourself, your values, your needs. Your everyday life is in balance because you have decided how you wish to spend your time and with whom. Your activities and work have meaning and purpose because you have chosen them with care and awareness.

Thinking this way requires a mindset shift. Think of all the people in your life that you love. Take care of yourself for yourself first… then for them. There will always be things in life that require time and attention. But how much is too much? If you reflect upon your life and your true feelings… is there a way to simplify? Can you eliminate or delegate anything? Can you organize your time and space to provide breathing room… time for self care, relaxation or creative activities that you enjoy? Can you actually decline activities or invitations that you really don’t want to participate in… regardless of what is expected of you by others. Can you say the word no?

You deserve to be happy and healthy. You deserve to enjoy your one precious life. Make yourself a high priority in your life. Do it grandly and unapologetically. Do it now… today!