Between a busy work schedule, caring for and raising a family, maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner, checking in with your aging parents, and checking off every other item on your seemingly endless to-do list, you may feel as though there are not enough hours in the day — and, in that, you are neither wrong nor alone.

The greatest issue with having such a packed schedule is that you have likely begun sacrificing your own time in order to meet your deadlines. Although this may not seem like much of an issue, giving up the time you need to care for yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally will certainly take a toll in the long-run.

By neglecting your body’s most basic needs — such as nutritious food, adequate sleep, and the occasional self-indulgence — you are not only inhibiting its ability to properly heal and recuperate from the stress you have likely been under, but you are also inhibiting your ability to perform well at work and provide care to those around you in the future.

While such a conclusion may seem like common sense, many Americans still struggle to put their needs first. Perhaps it is for fear of seeming selfish or inconsiderate of others’ needs, or it is because one does not feel they are deserving of self-care. Either way, it is imperative that everyone takes the time to put their needs, health, and well-being first — and not just once in a while.

With that in mind, let us take a look at some simple ways you can begin putting yourself first:

Learn to say no

While this may be a challenging feat at first — especially since you will not want to disappoint someone you care about — you will find that saying “no” to certain things will not only give you more control over your schedule, but will also allow you to regain the time and energy you have been sacrificing.

Prioritize the things you enjoy

After spending so much time pouring your energy into others, it is time you give yourself the same treatment. Splurge on a nice gift to yourself — say, a massage, that novel you have been eyeing every time you are in the bookstore, or even something as simple as a nice lunch. By taking the time to treat yourself to the things you enjoy, you will not only feel refreshed and rejuvenated, but you will be able to reinforce your new positive behavior as well.

Do not be afraid to ask for help

At one point, you were known as the person who would come through for others and help them out of situations both large and small. However, have you ever taken the opportunity to ask for the same sort of help? If not, now is the perfect time to start. Start delegating tasks at home, asking for additional assistance or clarification at work, and requesting more emotional support from those you are closest to. While these may seem like small changes, you would be astounded by the difference taking these little steps will truly make.