I’ve found that many of us are so focused on goals, achievement, workaholism, being productive, getting a million things done, and being busy that taking care of ourselves isn’t on our priority list.
Maybe you’re really good at juggling all of the balls you have in the air but not so good at balancing the rest of your life. That’s where self-care (and self-reflection) comes in.
It’s easy to let self-care slip down the priority list. With the demands of a job, family, and friends, there’s not a lot of time or energy to devote to yourself. And before you know it, you’re stressed, exhausted, and maybe even sick. It’s time to take back control and schedule some self-care.
The good news is that self-care doesn’t need to be expensive holidays or massages or yoga retreats (although they do sound pretty good). Self-care be can simple, easy, and straightforward. In fact, the best self-care is the constant repetition of small acts of self-love and kindness. Doing small things every day is easy and effective. In fact, self-care is not a ‘one and done’ sort of thing; it isn’t something you put on your ‘to-do’ list just to check off and then be done with it.
Self-care can be tiny things you do for yourself every day (and no, they don’t need to be time-consuming or expensive). I have 20 simple and small ideas to get you started.
Now is a good time to take stock of how well you’re taking care of yourself. Self-care is a bit of a buzzword, but it is one of the most important things you can do for your health, happiness, relationships, and even your productivity. Self-care is the key step in being your best you. Unfortunately for many of us, it’s also a neglected part of our lives.
So how can you tell if you need more self-care? See if anything on this checklist applies to you:
You may like the ‘idea’ of putting yourself first. But liking the idea and actually doing it could be two very different things. And it’s easy to misunderstand what ‘putting yourself first’ means (at least, according to Janet). It doesn’t mean you do what you want all the time and disregard what everyone else wants. It doesn’t mean you become the #1 selfish B*tch. It doesn’t mean you ignore the needs of others.
On the contrary, putting yourself first means that you get to be the best version of yourself because when you are being who you are, doing your “job” and living your purpose, you plug into a battery of unlimited energy and, most importantly, motivation and joy, that lets you truly have your “cake” and eat it too (okay that was one helluva long sentence).
Putting yourself first means you are in balance and creating positive, mutually-supportive relationships with your partner, family, friends, and colleagues. Putting yourself first is a declaration to yourself that you’re engaging in an act of self-compassion and self-love - - and that increases self-esteem. And who doesn’t need more of that, right?
But getting into the routine of prioritizing yourself takes a bit of practice (or a lot of practice!). Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind while building the healthy routine of putting yourself first.
!There’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding between putting yourself first (and self-love) and being selfish. When our love is directed outward, we don’t have any problem with the idea of loving multiple people.
We love all of our children, all of our family members, our friends, and more. But for some reason, when we add ourselves to the mix, it seems like we think we can’t love ourselves AND anyone else. That if we love ourselves, we’d exclude love, care, and consideration for others and become selfish.
A colleague of mine wrote recently that she had been called selfish by very close people in her family when she openly stated what she wanted for her life. And she believed it. And she watered down her desires in order to make those around her feel more comfortable.
If we want to connect with our calling, make an impact, leave a legacy, follow our passion, live our joy, or express our talents, then we need to learn to embrace the idea of self-love / putting ourselves first and not fall into the trap that putting ourselves first or loving ourselves is selfish.
It’s Not Selfish to Put Yourself First!
Knowledge is one thing and putting that knowledge into practice is another. We all know more than we actually practice. You know that prioritizing your self-care is important. You know boundaries are key to keeping you healthy, energetic, and happy. So why is it sometimes so difficult to put it into practice? What’s stopping you putting yourself first? Or even putting yourself in the top 5?
There’s enormous pressure to keep other people happy, to be ‘unselfish’, and to take responsibility for other people’s emotions. Society wants you to be a people-pleaser, and that's especially true if you’re a woman. So, you might need some extra support to prioritize your self-care and stop the habit of putting yourself last.
Here are a few self-care myths busted to help clear the way.
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.