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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It's Okay To Put Yourself First


You've likely been in the position of saying “yes” to something you didn't want to do. Agreeing to do a favor for someone, or letting something worse happen. This happens because too many people are afraid to say “no”. Too often we get taken advantage of because of that inability to say “no”. We don't want friends, family or lovers to think of us as selfish people.

But here's a news flash: It's okay to be selfish sometimes. In fact, it's encouraged.

Think about it: You're like a car, running on the fuel of your self-care. Yes, you're driving people around and you're helping them out. But if it's not returned, your tank is going to run down to empty. Then what? You won't be able to help anyone because you'll be drained.

It's important to remember that you need to put yourself first. You need to take care of your own needs before you can help other people with theirs. This could mean anything, from eating better to spend a night in with yourself every now and then. You'll know better than anyone else what you need. It could just be sleep. I mean, I'm even guilty of running myself to the point of exhaustion, all for other people. Sometimes, it's the curse of being human. More often, being empathic. We do worry too much about other people. It's not a bad thing to want to help others, but it's just not healthy when it comes down to you or them and you're always choosing them. You have to choose you.

How can you make the decision to put yourself first?
  • Set aside one day of the week. Tell everyone that you're unavailable every week on that day.
  • Remind people that count on you that you can't be there for them if you aren't there for yourself sometimes, too.
  • Turn off your phone (or ignore it, if you can do that).
  • Tune out the outside world and ignore any requests that try and get inside of your bubble.
  • Remember that you need rest and relaxation.
You deserve it, you really do. One day a week isn't a lot to ask. You need that time to recharge and get ready for the upcoming stress you might face. Now once you've got the entire day to yourself, there are many things you can do to help recharge:
  • Take a bubble bath (add candles, soothing music and even a glass of wine or a book to truly indulge in the serenity of the moment).
  • Read a book (laying in bed, out at the park, wherever YOU want – because today is all about you).
  • Watch a movie you've been wanting to see (rent, stream or even go out to the theatre).
  • Order take-out food for dinner instead of cooking (even if you have a family, you can ask for this luxury on occasion, maybe not every week, but still).
  • Tune out the world (no social media, no casual chatting – you don't want to give anyone the chance to ask you for something because you'll say yes and you know it).
Finally, remember that you can always say no. If you don't want to do something, are too busy, or don't feel appreciated: Speak up! Silence is never the answer. It will never solve your problems. You need to tell people how you're feeling, even if you are setting aside this recharging period.