If You Don’t Do It, Someone Else Will
I’m going to preface my next statement by saying that I understand just how difficult it is to do – but ladies, we have got to learn to put ourselves first – in life, love, and professional pursuits. Far too often we assume that someone is going to take care of us or have our back, and we trust that it will all even itself out – and then it does not. So from now on, we’re going to learn (slowly but surely) how to begin putting ourselves first. While this isn’t a full-on empowerment speech, this is a stance on how we can learn to trust ourselves and understand that is okay to put yourself before others. Nothing is more important than you, your mental, and physical well-being. Reminding yourself of this is not selfish, so eliminate that notion from your mind.
Decide That You Deserve to Be a Priority
First things first, come to the realization that it is okay to be a priority in your own life. Once you have accepted you are not at your best when you are pulled in too many directions or are stressed, you can begin your new outlook. This will actually be a win-win for everyone – self-love benefits everyone around you.
Make Yourself a Priority, But Not at the Expense of Others
If you are anything like me, the decision to make yourself a priority will feel like jumping in the deep end of the pool when you have never been swimming. The idea is to make yourself a priority without losing focus on others; this way, you’re dipping your toes in the shallow end and taking the stairs. Find the balance that works for you. This is all about learning what you need and not cutting others out. You will always need friends and family, so you do not want to isolate them. You’re becoming a priority, not an island.
Think back to the aforementioned dipping your toe in the water – start by prioritizing certain tasks or set aside time specifically for yourself each day. I know people will want you to start big (this is your self-actualization!), but for many of us (myself included) this is an unrealistic expectation. Begin with just 15 minutes, but, step outside your comfort zone and do something for yourself. Meditate, exercise, read, you get the idea of where this is headed. Once 15 minutes is easy, start to up the time commitment (it’s personal investment).
Learn to Say No When Necessary/It’s Not Important
Saying no is not only okay, it is sometimes necessary. You are not required to be involved with every task/item that is asked of you. Do you understand what I just said, repeat after me, “I have the freedom to say no. It does not make me selfish.” If you have a deadline, if you have errands to run, if you’re tired – you can say no. You do not have to drop everything and help someone right now, you are allowed to focus on you. Reminder, you’re the top priority.
Simplify… Where Possible
We often complicate our own lives. We take too much on, we juggle too many things, we double and triple book ourselves (personally and professionally), and we have already agreed to help someone when we should be doing something else, just to name a few. Sound familiar? If so, we need to find a way to simplify our own lives. Moving beyond just saying no when something is not necessary, we need to learn when to set up clear boundaries and double check our schedules – make sure you are always checking with yourself that what is being asked of you is possible – will this fit my schedule, day, etc. You do not want to take too much on and make it worse. You have become the priority now.
Becoming the priority in your own life will be a shift in mindset, especially if you have been in the passenger seat for years. But consider this… we invest in stocks and 401ks, why aren’t we investing in ourselves? We think of mutual funds and Roth IRA’s as our future, but not our mental well-being. Now is the time to make sure that we’re dropping funds into the emotional piggy bank and prioritizing self – your mental well-being depends on it.