Please yourself in the bedroom, take sick days and say no to your kids – six selfish things you need to start doing today for a healthier lifestyle

I was wrong.

Being selfish is defined as ‘lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.’

But words and phrases which mean the same as ‘selfish’ include ‘self-loving’ and ‘inward-looking’ which sound pretty good to me.

Michelle Obama told Barbara Walters in an interview in 2011, ‘One of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.’

Wise words from Mrs O!

I wrote my book Kindfulness because I realised being a people-pleaser ultimately doesn’t make you happy – and being a bit selfish is good for every aspect for your life – especially your health!

Here's six easy things you can start doing today to insert some selfish Kindfulness into your life…

1. Take sick days

When you’re ‘selfish’ you put your own health – physical, mental and emotional – first.

Sometimes that might mean disappointing other people. But ultimately, you should be looking after yourself before anyone else.

So never feel guilty about taking a day off work when you’re sick.

I once worked somewhere where you were expected to be at your desk unless a limb was hanging off – and even then, they’d prefer it if you just sewed it back on yourself, pop to the hospital on the weekend to fix it and make sure you’re all ready for Monday.

We’re under so much pressure to plough through even when we’re feeling terrible.

But give yourself permission to re-group and only return to work when you’re ready. None of this advice applies to hangovers!

2. Be a selfish parent

"Make yourself a priority. I always say you have to put yourself first before you can be the best you can be to everyone else… and yes that does include your kids!" Anna Williamson, NLP life coach, mum-of-one and author of Breaking Mum and Dad tells me.

"Our children are of course the most precious and of the highest importance, but running ourselves ragged emotionally physically and mentally isn't going to help anyone, least of all your kids.

"Be kind to yourself every day and make time for YOU time…. even just using the loo in peace can help in not feeling so frazzled."

3. Please yourself in the bedroom

Being selfish can really help enhance your love life, sex and relationship expert Annabelle Knight tells me.

"Being positively selfish is a good thing.

"Knowing your true self and not compromising on that is the only way to be truly happy in a relationship, otherwise your generosity and actions of perceived selflessness become more of a transaction, in a sort of tit–for-tat way," she says.

So being selfish and asking for what you want – whether it’s in the bedroom or how to be communicated with – is great for your sex life!

4.Learn to say 'no'!

Looking after other people can be exhausting. Especially when you forget to look after yourself.

"If you please everyone except yourself, you can become depleted. It’s our job is to look after ourselves first,"’ life coach and hypnotherapist Camilla Dallerup tells me.

"Learn to say no. Way too often we say yes to things when we really want to say no.

"We end up sacrificing our own happiness over pleasing others.

"Scheduling in sufficient downtime and sleep time is vital."

So next time you have to say no to someone, don’t feel guilty. Just arrange to see them another time and remember you’re looking after your health.

5. Get fit

Studies of more than 3,000 people found a link between self-compassion and four key areas of health: eating, exercise, stress and sleep.

So being kind to yourself – putting your own needs first and being positively selfish – is better for your diet, you exercise more get more restful sleep (and who doesn’t need that!?) and stress less.

6. Try to de-stress

How stressed are you right now? Can you change anything about the situation but are you worried people will think you’re being selfish if you do? You’re doing yourself no favours.

Friend stressing you out with their unnecessary drama? Partner not treating you with the respect you deserve? It’s far better to remove the stress from your life – end the friendship or relationship – than put yourself through that kind of tension.

It’s medical fact that stress is harmful to more than just your mental health – it can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

So taking care of your stress levels is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself.

  • Kindfulness, By Caroline Millington is out now, £10, from Amazon – buy now. 

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