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This article originally appeared in Front Porch Magazine

By Marcia Grimsley, BS, MS, Life Coach

As a life coach, I begin my work with a client by giving them permission to make self-care a top priority. I believe that a high quality life begins with a high quality you!

Extreme self-care requires you to put yourself above anything else. This can be a very real challenge for many of us today. Learning to say “no”, unless you feel an “absolute yes”, is a vital part of honoring the person you are. For most of us, choosing to spend our time and energy on things that bring us joy and doing what we want, instead of what others want, can be difficult.

This whole concept may seem scary or offensive at first. Yet, as we learn to filter our decisions through the lens of extreme self-care, we’ll find that our nagging inner voice will become a strong ally for making healthier choices. I am convinced that a higher order supports us when we make the choice to care for ourselves in spite of our fear and discomfort.

While flying in an airplane, we have all experienced flight assistants reminding us to place oxygen masks on ourselves first, then on our children, in the event of an emergency. By doing this we can better care for our child. As we practice extreme self-care and place ourselves first, we become available to others without resentment or anger.

Self-care is learning to be selfish. This idea is often met with a negative reaction from people who do not understand it. But, there is a positive side here. Everyone in your life benefits from a healthier you! When  your co-worker teases you for leaving work at 5PM, or your spouse feels threatened because you want time for yourself, when your children get upset at not having your attention every moment remind them you are practicing good self-care. Let you know you will be a better mother, father, husband, wife, employee, or friend, and ultimately everyone will win.

Set in motion a higher standard for your life. Free up more time and energy for you. If your plate is already full, take it slowly and build from there. A great place to begin is a commitment to better physical self-care. One example might include more frequent visits to the gym. Next, work on setting healthier emotional and psychological boundaries in your life. Get comfortable with saying “no thank you” and meaning it! Finally, carve out space for the things that make you happiest.

You can expect that some people will always give you a hard time, but remember your life is at stake. You deserve to take excellent care of your Self…