When was the last time you really put yourself first? If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a career, a house, a partner, a full basket of washing and kids – and you’ve slid down the list of importance. You say things like “I don’t have time to do things for myself” or “the kids are the centre of my world” – but the real truth is – there’s ALWAYS time to start putting more emphasis on your own needs. Here’s why…

What it means to put yourself first

As women, we’re not that great at prioritising ourselves. We spend so much time worrying about the happiness of everyone else. Then there’s the guilt. How can you possibly focus on your needs when everyone else needs you more? You’re selfless – and this is how women should be. Right? Wrong! Putting yourself first needn’t be an impossibility, nor does it mean going to narcissistic extremes. It simply means finding time to do the things you love.

Experts say when you put yourself first, not only do you maintain your mental and physical health – you boost your energy, enthusiasm, motivation, performance and productivity.

Self-care 101

As with most important changes, learning to put yourself first doesn’t happen overnight. Take note of these tips to ensure you do put self-care a DAILY HABIT.

Make a list: Let’s face it – emails need answering, projects need to be finished and dinner needs to get on the table (most days) – hence why we often turn to our “to-do” list. However, there is no point in having an ever-ending list that inevitably ends up causing overwhelm and stress.  Set your list in daily chunks – that way it’s more realistic, actionable and achievable. Question what really needs most of your attention today and stay focussed on the task at hand.

Create some white space. The idea of learning to prioritise your tasks each day is about leaving more time for the things that make you feel good. Whether that is taking a long bath each night, stretching before bed, enjoying a cup of tea while basking in the morning sun – these tiny moments of uninterrupted activities serve as a means to take away the mental fatigue,  eliminate distractions and re-define what’s really the most important to us.

“The need for less often results in a life of more”

Make up your own mind: Being a generous, compassionate person is a wonderful thing, however if you get caught in a cycle of saying “yes” to everyone’s needs then you’ll end up neglecting your own. The key is creating a harmonious balance between work, family, relationships and your own personal time. Easier said than done, but practicing the art of saying “no” when really required does help.

Remember, putting yourself first doesn’t make you selfish, a bad mum or wife, or employee. It simply contributes to a more balanced being, including a healthier mind, healthier body and healthier relationships.

What are your tips for managing your time – please share your thoughts.

 

 

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