08/10/2014 12:23 pm ET Updated Oct 10, 2014

Why 'Me Time' Should Not Harbor Guilt

If you're anything like me, you're a people pleaser by nature. You have an innate need to constantly say "yes" when asked to commit to something in your professional and personal worlds. You feel like you're doing the right thing by taking on responsibility, while opting out of something means abandoning your obligations and ultimately letting someone down.

As CEO of a growing and evolving wellness video network and mother of three, I have a lot of people and priorities vying for my time. At one point in my life I found myself being pulled in different directions and feeling guilty for taking what little time I had for myself. Shouldn't I be reviewing a proposal instead of taking a 15-minute walk outside? Shouldn't I be spending time with my family at home rather than taking a 60-minute yoga class on Saturday morning?

However, since taking a few years off, then exiting retirement to start, I've discovered that making the conscious decision to invest time and energy into my own wellness was vital to properly managing my commitments in all areas of my life.

My secret was to accept the simple notion that "me time" is not selfish, it's necessary. Here are four steps to shift your mindset:

1. Let go of guilt: Treat your one daily "wellness activity" as a scheduled commitment so you start to see it as a priority. Change your inner script from "I'm being selfish" to "I deserve this." I know things come up and last-minute and emergencies sometimes must take priority. But treating your personal wellness as the priority prevents it from becoming a slippery slope.

2. There is already time in your schedule, you just have to make it: Fitting some form of "personal wellness" into your daily routine can feel daunting... especially if you have to commute to a gym or studio to workout. Consider using at-home-workouts so you can cut out all the factors that add to the time away from whatever else it is you feel you should be doing. You can even be ready to take advantage of "found moments" or an unexpected gap in your schedule.

3. Exercise helps you achieve work-life balance: The benefit of regular exercise to work-life balance is confirmed by a Harvard Business Review study that highlights the stress reduction benefits of regular exercise, even in small doses. Exercise aids in feelings of self-efficacy as well, helping you feel more capable of facing difficult situations head on and viewing them as challenges that can be mastered, rather than stressors.

You won't always have time for a 90-minute yoga session so remember that wellness comes in different shapes and sizes. You can do something as simple as reading an entertaining blog for 10 minutes or finding a healthy recipe to try this weekend. Any way you can find a small joy throughout your day can act as a catalyst to recharging your overstimulated battery.

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is sometimes easier said than done. But, there are steps that can be taken to prioritize your needs in order to effectively be the person others in your life need you to be.

Letting go of my feelings of guilt and investing in my personal wellness each day have allowed me to maintain a well-rounded lifestyle, balancing my personal and work life and learning never to neglect "me."

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