Is it me or is life getting busier by the day? Keeping up with work commitments and busy family schedules whilst maintaining any sort of social life seems impossible. Add in the fact that social media is weaselling its way into every area of our lives; it is becoming increasingly difficult to ever switch off. When are we supposed to find any time for self-development and relaxation?

How often do you make time for ‘you’? Be honest now. To please others, it can be tempting to keep saying ‘yes’ to every request but there needs to be a balance. How often does this desire to please come at the expense of your own happiness and well-being? If you have people that rely on you, you may find being selfish a challenge. But if you don’t take care of yourself, how are you supposed to take care of others?

Personally, this year has been pretty crazy. The rollercoaster of running a business coupled with training for the Ironman 70.3 event took its toll. I was up early to workout, and staying up late to work. I had completely forgotten to take care of myself. I lost a lot of weight and I ran myself into the ground. Some people can function well with hectic work schedules and limited sleep. I am not one of those people. I realised it was time to start putting myself first.

Although I might not have all the answers, here are a few tactics I have implemented that you should find helpful:

  • Make time for something you enjoy every day. This can be as simple or complex as you wish. It can be thirty minutes of quiet time reading a book or putting your feet up and listening to a podcast for an hour. Schedule this time in as if it were an important work meeting, otherwise it probably won’t happen.

  • Make the time to see your friends. It is easy to go into autopilot mode and for life to pass us by. This can lead to weeks, months or even years between meaningful meetings with friends or loved ones. Active and engaging social lives can lead to an increase in mood, well-being and even lifespan!

  • Exercise regularly. A healthy body will facilitate a healthy mind. Regular exercise shows improvements in mood and self-esteem and can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

  • Eat good food. The benefits of eating a healthy and balanced diet are not just physical. Nourishing food filled with vitamins and minerals will aid healthy mental health. Aim for a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and you’ll be reaping the mental benefits in no time.