What's Your Non-Negotiable Time?

style="margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; ">Do you put aside a certain amount of time for you everyday? Do you have certain activities that you do on a daily basis that fill you up? Or, do you constantly run on empty and never take any time for yourself? We all lead some super busy lives as we try to juggle our families, our careers, our healths, and a host of other responsibilities that we all have taken on. That is why we are often so run down by the end of the day that we are crawling into bed exhausted and sometimes too tired to sleep.

As women, I think it's part of our DNA to nurture, to take care of, to want to make things better for the ones we love. So we often take on projects and things that we shouldn't. Saying "No" is not part of our vocabularies. Learning to say "No" is an acquired skill and is really hard to say when someone is depending on you.

But, in most cases you have taught them to depend on you because you always handle everything. You have become the magician for everyone in your life. So the idea of setting time aside for yourself in a lot of ways seems wrong and seems like you just couldn't or shouldn't do that. But, the question becomes who is looking out for you? Who is taking care of you, if you won't? The answer is no one.

Often as women we have the need to please. Helping and becoming indispensable to another gives us purpose and makes us feel wanted; but, we have it all wrong. The only person who you are indispensable to is you.

Teaching everyone in your life to depend on you and only you, is robbing them of the gift of learning responsibility for themselves and is also in the process robbing you of having a life. No one can be everything to everyone - let alone whole families, friends, neighbors, business associates, clients, etc. When we feel the need to take care of everyone and everything we are often searching for valuation in others. Validation for doing a good job, being appreciated, and for helping out. But, what we fail to understand is that we do not need validation for all these things, what we are really searching for is love. This is the only way we feel we can come close.

When you learn to love yourself for who you are not for what you can do for everyone, it will make an enormous difference in all the relationships in your life.

I'm certainly not saying you should not be helpful, loving, nurturing, kind and truly delightful; but, I am saying that it starts with you. If you never take time out for yourself and you make yourself the martyr for taking on everything then where does it end? When do you get to realize how wonderful you truly are just for you being you, not for the laundry list of things you achieve for another? And when you run yourself ragged and you feel completely run down and empty on the inside how does that serve anyone? That is not living that is just sacrificing for others. A life full of sacrifice is certainly not the same as living a life that is fulfilling and full of love. There is a huge difference. What kind of life do you lead? I know I have lived both.

Setting aside some time for yourself every day goes a long way to living a fulfilling life because it allows you to fill you up first. It allows you to take the time you need to feel good about yourself, what you have accomplished in your life and then by extension your family. So when you move forward from this place there is a tremendous difference in who you are, what you are able to contribute to your family and your world. It's okay to say "No" once in a while, it is okay to set time aside just for you.

In my own life, I have five non-negotiable times each day. One is to workout, two is to make time to eat well (shopping and cooking), three is to take care of my health (appointments and rehab when needed), four is time for my family and five is time for my significant other (time to connect just us). And I have to say, since I have started saying "No" more all of my relationships with the most important people in my life have deepened.

What are your non-negotiable times? And once you've started implementing this is your life, how has it changed you and your relationships, I would love to hear?

Lisa Marichal is an Expert Body Image Consultant, Speaker and Writer who helps women and girls realize their own potential and gifts within themselves. You can visit her at [http://healthydoover.com/articles/] to learn more.

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