If there were only one thing, I could teach clients it would be the importance of putting yourself first.
It has been an absolutely CRAZY year for me. I’ve had some very severe lows with the illness and then the death of my beloved Step Father. I’ve also had some incredible highs, mainly due to the accomplishments of my two amazing kids. The roller coaster of my life over the last 12 months has meant my business was put very much on the back burner. A couple of years ago the lows would have probably pushed me into anxiety and depression.
Thankfully I learned the importance of putting myself first!
Not all the time, but probably about 90% of the time. Putting myself first meant I could set my business to one side without guilt or worry about getting back on track. Putting myself first meant that I had the mental strength and the energy to be there for others when they REALLY needed me.
Now you may be thinking that putting yourself first is selfish. In this blog, I’m going to explain why it is imperative to put yourself first and give you some tips so that you can start to do exactly that, more often.
I want you to think of selfishness as a scale.
One end is 100% selfish, and the other end is 100% selfless.
Now obviously you shouldn’t be totally inconsiderate of other people, but IT IS NOT healthy to be more concerned with the needs of others than with your own needs. So what I would like you to do is look at how you can move along the scale and become more selfish.
Reframe what it means to be selfish.
Instead, think of it as having self-worth. I want you to start believing that you are not only worthy of self-care but that you are worthy of happiness. I want you to understand that you are worthy of pleasure and that you should make it a priority.
That may feel uncomfortable to you. Most women don’t rate pleasure high on their to-do list, but it should be! Pleasure in its simplest form is a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment. Life is so short that we should cram as much fun into it as possible.
It doesn’t have to be a hedonistic pleasure that would raise the neighbour’s eyebrows. I’m talking about life’s simple pleasures:
- a meal with friends
- treating yourself to a relaxing massage
- making time for a yoga class
- leaving the kids with Grandma and having a date night
- saying no to someone you always say yes to so that you can have more time to do nothing
Putting yourself first and making time for pleasure is important because putting yourself last leaves you at best tired and unhappy and at its worst, it leaves you exhausted, overwhelmed, depressed and hating your life
Putting myself first meant sometimes I said no.
I said no because I learned the hard way that saying yes all the time left me wiped out and in a constant state of anxiety about not being good enough.
I made myself ill because I was trying to be everything to everyone and lack of time lead me to fail miserably. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist by nature. That meant that at work I would often get asked to take on extra duties. My boss knew I could be relied on firstly to say yes and secondly to deliver a good result. The only problem was, I needed to take work home to get everything done.
At the time I had two teenagers, both with lots of extracurricular activities going on. I had offers from Grandparents to help out driving them to different places, but in my mind, I needed to take them myself to be a good parent, so I generally said no to offers of help.
I ended up desperately in need of some self-care.
My anxiety meant I was always tense and ended up with chronic back pain. I was crying out for a massage, but in my mind, good Mums didn’t “waste” money on things like massages.
Every weekend was spent on kids activities, visiting grandparents, shopping for food and preparing for the following Monday. There was literally no downtime.
When everything came to a head, I left my job one day knowing that I could never go back. I was utterly broken, and I knew that to heal I had to learn very quickly to put myself first. I knew that I couldn’t make the same mistake again.
Why you need to start putting yourself first
Now maybe things aren’t that bad for you (yet), BUT when you start putting yourself first, you will finally have more time, energy and freedom to start enjoying life again. And if that isn’t enough of a selling point then how about these reasons.
1| You will be more efficient
When you take time out for you, then you will be better at your job. You will be more creative, a better problem solver and simply more efficient.
2| Your health will suffer
If you put yourself last too often your health WILL be affected sooner or later. Not only will that impact you it will impact your loved ones and your job or your business. When you refuse to slow down your body will eventually make you and stress can literally be a killer.
3| You will lose your identity
When you consistently put yourself last, you lose your sense of identity. I see it happen to women, especially mothers A LOT!. When you lose your identity, you end up feeling resentful and lost.
4| You will feel like a doormat
Putting yourself last means you start feeling like a doormat, BUT it’s your fault. We teach other people how to treat us and if you don’t respect yourself enough to show yourself kindness why would anyone else.
5| You will be a better role model
If you have children, especially daughters, then you already know that you are a role model. Do you want your little girl to feel like you do when she is your age? If not then don’t just tell her to take care of herself, demonstrate how to do that by putting yourself first.
6| Your relationships will improve
If you have a partner, your relationship will suffer unless you start putting yourself first. When you take care of yourself, then the happiness that you feel will ripple out and impact everyone around you, especially your romantic relationships.
Hopefully, I’ve now convinced you that putting yourself first is better for you AND others. Now I want to give you some easy ways to do exactly that.
Remember what I said about moving along the scale away from self-less towards selfish or as I like to think towards self-worth and self-care? This isn’t about changing who you are. You can’t think, “enough is enough I’m going to be an entirely different person tomorrow” that would be a massive change that wouldn’t stick. I want you to think about this as a shift. All you are doing is replacing unhealthy habits with healthy habits. Pick one or two things from the list below, implement them into your life and you will be on the road to having more time, energy and freedom to start enjoying life again.
How to start putting yourself first
Pick one or two things from the list below implement them into your life, and you will be on the road to having more time, energy and freedom to start enjoying life again.
1| Create better boundaries
Work on teaching others around you how to respect your boundaries and why it is important. Don’t give up if it doesn’t happen straight away, work on it with them. Tell them how you feel when they don’t respect your boundaries, they can’t argue with how you feel.
2| Be more assertive
We are often guilty of assuming our other halves know (or should know!) what it is we want/need. Although there may be the odd Derren Brown out there, our loved ones can’t read our minds, so we need to communicate better. Tell them what it is you want or need and how they might help you to achieve that.
3| Stop being a people pleaser
If you are a people pleaser, you must learn to say no. The bad news is if you’ve been a people pleaser all your life then saying no will make you feel guilty.
4| Schedule time in your calendar just for you
This could be as little as 5-10 minutes for something that recharges your batteries but make it non-negotiable. Treat it like an important meeting.
5| Cut ties with toxic people
Toxic people suck the life out of other people. So if you have any in your life find a way to distance yourself from them. Sadly those toxic people are often family, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them drag you down. Find a way to at least minimise exposure. You can not fix toxic people no matter how much you love them.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you are going to do to start putting yourself first