Ever see people who can simply do everything, and you think: “I should have them do some stuff for me”? Do you feel perpetually strained, stressed out, or shell-shocked these days? Trust me, there is nothing righteous or self-respectable about self-sacrificing and ignoring your own needs to the point of neglecting yourself. Do you regularly put everyone and everything above your own needs, even at the risk of your emotional or physical health, at times? It is high time to stop nourishing your inner martyr. No need to drown, being everyone else’s anchor, sweet friends.

Now more than ever we are all faced with an avalanche of responsibilities, choices, and decisions. Everything is amplified, adding more tension to an already intolerable situation. You’re having as much fun as a colorblind person playing Twister. I get it.

Your body’s “check-engine light” has been on and you’re still driving, like “Nah, it’ll be fine.” Do not wait till it runs out of gas. You simply cannot keep running on empty without stopping to refuel. Speaking of which, you know your driving is terrible when your GPS says: “After 300 feet, stop and let me out.” And admit it: There are times you try to get out of the car with your seatbelt on. But seriously, please take care of yourself. You simply cannot feel stable or in control of your mood or feelings if you insist on discounting and disregarding yourself.

Do you even know your own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs? Please try a few simple things. Nourish your body: Make a daily routine for yourself and spend more time outdoors. Yes, you do have time for that pedicure, work out, or a soothing, hot shower or bath. Use a body wash with your favorite scent. Wash your worries away for a bit. Moisturize your skin. And hey, I like my products like my people: non-toxic. You know how it is: First the water is too cold. Then you turn the hot water tap slightly, and suddenly boiling lava pours out. Heh. But do take the time.

No, you are not too booked up. Yes, you were so busy today; you only had time to check your phone 1,500 times. Please do yourself a favor: Add yourself to your “To Do” list. Remember: Some things are just better not spread too thin: yourself – and peanut butter.

You simply do not have your priorities in order, sweet friends, if you are placing everything else above your own health and well-being. How can you possibly care for others if you do not take care of your own sweet self? Self-neglect catches up with us, making us chronically tired, irritable, anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed. You’re still tired from yesterday, and you’ve already used up tomorrow’s tired.

The mind really does thrive on structure. Stick to a routine as much as you possibly can. Stop what you’re doing and brew your favorite herbal tea. Oxygenate your blood by taking long, deep breaths, and find a comfy place to just relax for a spell. Bless this mess? No. no. Get rid of all that clutter, dust, and hot mess around you. Get rid of something. Lots of somethings. Hiding clutter in pretty baskets just makes more attractive clutter. Make a pathway from your doorway to your desk. They say: “Happiness is a very small desk – and a very big wastebasket.” Having order around you creates more order in your mind.

When was the last time you said kind words to someone? Oh, how about saying them to yourself now? “You got this.” The way you talk to yourself creates your reality. Yes, life is tough; but so are you. And just think: You could be the reason someone smiles today.

Soothe yourself. Everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes – even you. Warm up a hot pack and put it on the back of your neck. Sink into your recliner or easy chair. Ahhhh. Free yourself from the mental slavery of being attached to the dang phone. Choose two goals you want to accomplish just for today and ask for help if you need it. Try to accomplish it before the microwave hits zero. Speaking of microwaves, ever wonder why your plate is so hot and your food is so cold? Y’all know that microwave minutes are longer than regular minutes, don’t you?

Teach your friends to speak more kindly to themselves, too. I know. You are juggling multiple roles. I get it. The juggle is real. But please do not forget spiritual self-care, sweet friends. Create a space that soothes and calms your nerves. Want to avoid burnout? Take your emotional barometer every day. Identify and label your feelings before you let them go. “I feel sad.” “I feel mad.” Stop putting out everyone else’s fire while leaving your needs on the backburner.

You may need to keep those energy vampires at arm’s distance these days. If someone brings you nothing but down, try to limit the time you spend with them. Prune that schedule of yours. Delegate, delete, or simply cut some things out. We all need someone to love, something we believe in, and – above all – something to hope for. Hey, you plugged in your USB on the first try today. There’s nothing stopping you now.

Please remember: Anything that costs you your inner peace is simply too expensive.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.