15 tips for taking 'me time' for people who never do

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When it comes to taking care of our physical and mental health, one aspect that's very often overlooked is self-care. Self-care is partaking in an activity in order to take care of and improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It may sound easy, but it's actually quite hard to do, especially if you're under a lot of stress or if you're far too used to putting others before yourself.

Just as you would put on your own oxygen mask before helping others in the case of a flight emergency, it's important to take time for yourself and make sure you're all right before taking care of others and their needs. Not only does this help us better help those we care about, but it also makes our own day-to-day life more fulfilling. When you take care of yourself, you'll find that your mood improves, your anxiety is reduced, and even your physical health benefits.

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Meditate

Meditation is a great way to center yourself and train your mind toward a more peaceful state. Known to help reduce anxiety, pain and depression, meditating for as little as five minutes a day can do wonders for your state of mind and general mood.

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Eat your favorite food

Food can bring you quite a bit of joy, and the foods you like can definitely raise your spirits. Treat yourself to your favorite meal, a go-to snack or a delicious dessert you've been craving.

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Cook or bake something you enjoy

Cooking doesn't have to be a chore. Make your favorite meal or brush up on your baking skills by firing up the oven to make some yummy treats.

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Get a massage

A massage is a great way to relieve stress and any tension in your body. Treat yourself at least once a month, and you'll find that it's more than worth the cost.

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Cuddle with a furry friend

Pets have also been known to help with anxiety, stress and other issues, to the extent that many hospitals have dogs and cats visit patients. Take some time to play or cuddle with your own pet or a friend's.

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Sleep

Many people simply don't get enough sleep, which can have harmful effects. Try to get the right amount of sleep, and if you're ever just tired, sometimes a nice nap is in order.

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Learn to say 'no'

You can't help anyone if you're too overloaded with responsibilities or totally worn out. Don't stretch yourself thin by just being a people pleaser. Boundaries are important, and sometimes it's a good thing to just say 'no' now and then.

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Hire someone else to do it

Believe it or not, according to research, people are happier when they spend their money on something that saves them time than when they spend it on material goods. Hiring someone for tasks such as cleaning your home, mowing the lawn or taking care of your taxes can take a load off and give you some much needed stress relief, as well as time to focus on yourself.

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Unplug

In an age when it feels as though one is constantly plugged in to various social media platforms, constant access to email and easy communication with others through text messaging, life can get kind of exhausting. Take a day or two when you're off from work or school to just turn off your phone and stay away from all computers so that you can get in tune with yourself and spend some quality time with your loved ones.

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Connect with nature

Be one with Mother Nature by getting on a hiking trail, hitting the shore, or going camping - or even glamping if you don't want to give up on modern comforts. Something even as simple as just taking a walk where you can enjoy the trees, smell some nice flowers or sit by a body of water can calm and relax you.

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Take a hot shower or a warm bath

Taking a hot shower can help relieve muscle knots and help you feel rejuvenated, especially after a long day of work. A nice, warm bath is also a great idea as it can be quite relaxing, particularly if you use a scented bath bomb or light some candles.

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Write down your thoughts

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, writing in a journal can help reduce stress, manage anxiety and cope with depression. You don't have to have a physical journal, but if you just take a few minutes every day to write down whatever's on your mind, you'll find that the practice will help you gain control of your emotions and even help you reflect on them in order to recognize thought patterns that you can work on in order to become a more positive person.

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Get crafty

Tap into your creativity by taking up drawing, painting, knitting, woodworking or any other hobby that allows you to express yourself artistically. You'll find the act itself quite calming, and the end result will give you a satisfying sense of achievement.

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Plan a weekend getaway

A quick vacation can do wonders to help you relax and take your mind off your obligations and stressors. Make a weekend trip somewhere with people you feel at ease with, or go solo for some serious quality "me time."

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Talk to a counselor

Whether it's a therapist, psychiatrist or spiritual leader of some sort, talking to a trained professional with certified counseling training can be a great outlet for your thoughts and emotions. Get it all out in a judgement-free zone, and come away with insight and coping mechanisms to help you live a more peaceful life.

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