back burner -noun - on the back burner put aside for the time being, as a subject that is not of immediate concern but that may be activated later. (dictionary.com)
While taking care of others is quite noble (assuming such an obligation should not be to your detriment), that back burner is not where you should be because once you are there, you might forget you are. Finding balance between helping those you care about and maintaining your own needs is vital.
Women (wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends), long known to be nurturers, often forget their total essence requires nurturing as well. As partners, parents and people who "do" for others, you have to remember that you deserve you too!
You only get one life to live. So, why not put and keep yourself on the front burner where you can be a priority, checked on regularly?
Give yourself the promotion of moving to the front burner.
front burner - noun - a condition or position of top priority: Put the project on the front burner and finish it as soon as possible. (dictionary.com)
Here are six suggestions to help you enjoy your front burner promotion:
Bathroom Stowaway - From answering nature's call to meditating to exercising good hygiene, taking an extra 5-10 minutes in the bathroom refuge to seek solace is better than none.
Speaking of hygiene, just prior to that bath or shower, why not prepare a facial scrub using ingredients you likely have in the kitchen? Barring any allergies, mix equal parts brown sugar, honey and oats to create a gorgeous facial scrub. Rinse with warm water, then gently towel blot. Adding a self-massage, using coconut oil or your favorite moisturizer, extends your experience and elevates your spirit.
Get up early. How about an hour earlier? - Somewhere in your schedule, you hopefully have a time where your energy level is mostly high. If not, and you crave a few moments to yourself, go to bed at a reasonable hour, but be sure to waken an hour earlier than everyone else. Wake up, stretch, exercise, meditate, breathe, dance or read something inspirational, etc. Whatever you do this early, do it for YOU! No distractions. Get that blood flowing and your spirit really going in the right direction.
The Night Owl - If you have children, having them on and sticking to a schedule can reward everyone greatly. And, if your productivity is high in the evening, make sure the offspring are in bed at a decent and consistent time. This way, they likely will get their required rest time and you can use this (presumed) quiet time to gather yourself, sip something soothing or do whatever ignites your soul.
The Getaway - Even if it's overnight at a slumber party, spending time away from the everyday with those you enjoy has wonderful benefits for you. Here, you all can support each other with lively talks, loads of laughter, enjoy the amenities of the venue (whether it's a hotel or a friend's home) and take TONS of pictures while creating new memories for later recollection. And, if childcare poses a concern for your getaway, why not look into places that offer on-site babysitting services? Remember, some time for yourself is vital.
Parents might consider taking turns watching each other's children or trading favors with trusted folks.
No BFFs? Look for new friendships through common interest groups, business/work connections, places of worship, parent-related organizations (if you are a parent), and volunteer at causes of importance to you.
Daytime Adventures - Go to the beach, a local hotel or check out a new-to-you B&B and bring that book you've been meaning to finish; tour a museum and get inspired; try a new park, take a picnic basket for one and use your cellphone's camera (or an actual camera) to take a self-portrait to document your mood; visit a nearby state or a different part of yours; have a "spa-tacular" day; go bike riding. Choose any place of interest to you that provides moments of reflection and spiritual reboot.
Send 'Em Away/YourStaycation - Sometimes, staying home to spend time with yourself is what you truly crave or all you can afford. If so, you will want to plan this to optimize "benefits." Are there any spirit-boosting activities you would like to do? Have you tried doing self portraits? Recharged from more sleep? Any reading to catch up on? Reviewed that new yoga DVD (and tried some of its poses)? Finished a few incomplete projects? Whatever your goals, write them down and plan to accomplish as many as your staycation permits.
Have loved ones help you get the home in top shape before venturing off because your goal here is to spend time on you. Next, send your family away for a few days.
If circumstances limit your options, then you have to make a choice; accept them for what they are OR make tweaks where possible so long as they get you closer to that front burner.
The truth is that no matter what is suggested and how often "time to myself" is recited, taking action to remove yourself from the back burner to the front of your life is key. No one can make you do it, as you are responsible for your time, but if you do take action (even a little bit), you will be happier because of it. And doesn't laughing and feeling great make you happy?
Every now and again, you may find yourself back there. Life happens. The important thing is to remember to return to the front as soon as possible. Allow these tips and those from your network of loved ones to help you get to the front burner because you deserve it and everyone, especially you, benefits greatly.
If you were on the back burner, how did you move away from it?
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power," which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.