We are all so busy these days, running here and there, worrying about our children or our partners, our parents or employers. There is so much pressure to be something to so many people and it is often far too easy to forget about ourselves in the midst of all that chaos.
The sad fact is that when you ask someone who they love most in the world, they will rarely mention themselves in the top 20 of who they list.
We can trudge along like this for weeks, maybe even months. But eventually there will come a moment when you truly feel in your heart that you need to look after you – even just for a moment.
To put you first. Be kind to yourself.
And there is no shame in it. In my opinion, we should always take care of ourselves in order to ensure that we are the strongest we can possibly be to look after those around us that we care about.
So how can you do it. How can you be kind to yourself?
Here are my top five tips for putting yourself first.
1) Make Time for Yourself
This one is nice and simple. As often as you can manage depending on your circumstances, make some time for you. Aim for at least once a week, but more frequently if you can.
It doesn’t need to be anything special – maybe some time sat quietly reading a book or watching your favourite TV show in peace. Perhaps a bath or some time with your friends. Anything that gets you away from the hustle and bustle of what has to be done and is something that you want to do.
Put yourself first. You deserve that.
2) Spoil Yourself
I love this one! This is about really treating yourself like a queen (or king!). Maybe linked to the first point, do something lovely for yourself. Here are some examples:
- Prepare a luxurious bubble bath with candles and a glass of something delicious.
- Treat yourself to a tub of your favourite ice cream and watch a good movie, under a big blanket
- Buy the thing that you most want (within financial reason obviously – I’m not talking about an Audi R8 here – more a handbag or a lipstick or nice jacket etc)
You get the idea, right? Just do something nice – for you.
3) Take Care of Yourself
Now this one is important. In order to function efficiently and get the most out of your uptime, you need to make sure that you are treating your body well. Think of yourself like your car. A car needs fuel, it needs oil, it needs an MOT or a service to run well.
People are not so different. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, do some form of exercise on a regular basis. Always manage your stress levels so that they don’t get too high.
Sleep is critical to healthy mental and physical performance. Aim for between 6 and 8 hours a night on a regular basis, set a bedtime and stick to it. You will find you are better able to face the day with a good night’s sleep under your belt, trust me!
Eating a balanced diet ensures that your body has the fuel it needs to function efficiently. Try and vary what you eat, make the meals you have as colourful as you can (fruit and veg offer a rainbow of colours and the more colour your meals has, the greater selection of fruit and veg are present), drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and try and avoid anything too sugary so that you don’t get energy spikes that are followed by energy crashes.
Managing your stress levels and exercise go hand in hand. Getting exercise is good for you for so many obvious reasons I needn’t go into them here, but what is less well understood is the fact that exercise is so great for reducing the impact of stress. Endorphins released during exercise are feel-good hormones and this counters the effect of any adrenaline created by stress.
4) Accept Yourself
Many of us are very adept at talking ourselves down. Negative self talk is a variation on the inner monologue that we all have – except that it is working against you. Your now mind is telling you you are no good at something or you are too heavy or too clumsy etc. It is ironic that often the least kind voice we hear is our own.
To be kind to yourself, you must learn to accept who you are, realise that no-one is perfect, that we all have flaws and imperfections and that this is invariably what makes us interesting!
Accept your successes and failures, your strengths and your weaknesses – embrace them.
And if that pesky voice in your head is still telling you you are too clumsy or not pretty enough – have a read of the articles What is Negative Self Talk and How to Beat Negative Self Talk. Hopefully they will help you overcome the issue. But if that fails, talk to me. I can help.
5) Honour Your Aspirations and Dreams
If is often the case that in giving so much of ourselves to other people and other priorities, we set aside the things that are important to us. We all have dreams and aspirations – things that we would like to achieve “one day” and it is important that we learn to respect and honour those dreams and aspirations.
Your daily circumstance may make those dreams feel distant and unreachable, but always hold on to them. Honour them. To deny them is to deny yourself.
A Final Kind Word
All of these suggestions are simple and will ensure that you are taking care of the one thing that is most precious to you – yourself. You may always prioritise others before yourself, and that is normal and understandable – but always remember that you can only be there for them if you take good care to be kind to yourself.
If you would like to find out more about how LifeRedesign can help you look after yourself, why not get in touch.