FROM HUFF POST
Going to bed early.
It can be tempting to go out for the evening or stay up to watch just one more episode of “Game of Thrones.” But if you’re tired, you’re tired — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sleep is crucial to our everyday health and happiness. Research shows that too little can hike up our stress levels and lead to other, more serious, health problems like heart disease and obesity. Go ahead and hit the pillow a little early; that episode will be there when you wake up.
Taking on too much at work? Overbooked your calendar? Sometimes you have to say no to things — and that’s more than OK. In fact, if you don’t stop overloading yourself, it could lead to burnout. As author and sales leadership expert Lisa Earle McLeod points out in a HuffPost blog, in order to stop the chaotic nature of our daily lives, we have to focus on one thing at a time. “Taking the time to examine what will create sustainable success reveals strategies that can free you from the day-to-day scramble. Or at least make it more manageable,” she wrote. “Frantic isn’t sustainable, focus is more satisfying.”
Taking a vacation.
Here’s a sad reality: Americans are too stressed and too afraid to take their vacation days. But there are countless perks to taking a break from your 9-to-5 — and you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking advantage of them. Planning a vacation can actually increase your happiness levels and taking some mental space when you’re burned out can decrease stress.
Letting go of a toxic friendship.
Breaking up with a friend is hard (arguably harder than ending a romantic relationship). But sometimes you have to let it go for your own health — and that’s nothing to be ashamed about. “The choice to exclude a person or experience from your life can be the more compassionate choice — for yourself,” HuffPost blogger and psychotherapist Nancy Colier once wrote. “And indeed, when your heart opens to your own suffering, and your own well-being, that compassion for yourself can open wide enough to include even the one who caused you suffering.” Studies also show that stress is highly contagious; the more stressed out someone is, the more likely it’s going to rub off on you. There should be no guilt for removing yourself from a situation like that.
Not answering that email right away.
The pressures to be immediate in our email response time continue to grow thanks to our ever-present technology. But here’s the thing: Your inbox is stressing you out, and it’s OK to take a break from it. In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs don’t even check their email in the morning. Take Tumblr founder David Karp, for example. “I try hard not to check emails until I get to the office, which is usually between 9:30 and 10 a.m.,” Karp told Inc. “Reading emails at home never feels good or productive.”
Snagging some alone time.
While most of us can’t stand the idea of being alone with our thoughts (one study found that some people would rather receive electric shocks instead), we somehow feel compelled to be apologetic when we do want our own space for a while. (We’re looking at you, introverts.) But being alone actually has a myriad of benefits: It can help you recharge, it can teach you self-control and more.
Putting yourself first.
In the end, your wellness is crucial to living an optimal life — and because of that, you’re going to have to make your needs a priority (no apologies necessary). In fact, putting yourself first can be healthy. “It means filling yourself up mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually,” Dr. Phil McGraw told Oprah last year. “It’s not about being selfish.”