02/08/2016 12:00 EST | Updated 02/08/2016 12:59 EST

Me Time: Self-Care Is Transformative

Though to some it may seem like an indulgence, having dedicated “me time” is very important. Taking time to recharge daily is necessary for your short- and long-term health.

In fact, according to Sun Life Financial’s most recent Canadian Health Index seven out of ten Canadians are highly motivated to attain and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, this may sound good in theory, but Canadians aren’t doing enough of it.

Like being well rested, being mentally and emotionally healthy is a matter of choice and practice. Many people skip that practice for a variety of reasons, ranging from a negative view of “me time” to the reality that adult life is busy, with more things to do than time to do them in. But a little “me time” can make you happier, less stressed and more productive.

The brain needs time to relax just as the body does. When the body is tired, you don’t push it to the point of collapse and exhaustion. You let it rest and heal. The brain needs that same amount of downtime and care.

Carving out some quiet, calm, alone time every day is essential for mental health and physical health. It doesn’t matter what you do with that time, and it doesn’t matter where you are or how you take it, as long as you do.

Here are a few tips for how to make it happen:

SCHEDULE IT: You’re more likely to see a scheduled task as being important and therefore more likely to make it part of your everyday routine. Scheduling personal time can be as simple as finding a time-slot, setting an alert on your phone or closing your door.

HAVE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES AT WORK: Some people think the key to getting ahead is never saying no to another task. That’s the key to burnout. Being able to say no is often a necessary preamble to “me time".

SPEND YOUR “ME TIME” DOING SOMETHING HEALTHY AND THAT YOU ENJOY: We tend to want to do things we enjoy more often. By taking time to treat yourself to a short walk, a book, yoga, or even a power nap, you’re reinforcing the idea that “me time” is something you like to do.

UNDERSTAND THAT “ME TIME” ENRICHES YOUR LIFE: We all know exercise is good, but we often skip it because it takes a long time, requires effort, and it can hurt. “Me time” requires very little effort beyond planning, and enriches our lives immeasurably. Internalizing that thought reinforces the importance of taking your “me time.”