We are constantly being told to put ourselves first.
We hear it all the time. “How about You? You matter. Think of your own needs.”
We are learning more and more about the importance of listening to our bodies and prioritising our needs, but how can we do this in an increasingly busy world.
How can we put ourselves first when we just don’t have time?
Many of us have been brought up to put others first. As children we are taught to be kind and generous, to think of others. It’s considered selfish to make us number one. This is helpful to some degree but I believe that children should first be taught respect for themselves, then for others. Of course, it’s important to consider the needs of others but we need to remember our own needs too. As we get older, we often lose sight of ourselves and our own needs and never consider that our needs must take priority.
Women in particular, grow up as the nurturers. If we are nice and play by the rules we won’t be considered mean or nasty or the dreaded “B” word. If we have children we continue to play the game. Children are vulnerable, especially when young and it’s normal to be there to meet their needs. However if we never show our children that we have needs too, they grow up thinking that they don’t count either. They never learn to put themselves first. Not a great role model for their future selves.
So how can we start prioritising Us?
The most important thing, I believe is to have a great relationship with yourself. How much do you love yourself? How much do you respect your wants and dreams? If you laugh at the thought of loving yourself, practise what Louise Hay calls ‘Mirror work.’ Every time you look in the mirror say to yourself, ‘I love you.’ This may feel silly at first but the more you say it, the more you will feel the emotion.
Be aware of your language towards yourself and don’t criticise. Be grateful for your gifts and talents and don’t compare yourself to others. We are all unique and we all have our unique zone of genius. Be kind to yourself and do things that light you up. Spend time with those you love and less time with those who drain or deplete you.
This is all very well, you may say, but how do I find the time?
I think that if you really care about your health both on a physical and emotional level, you consciously make the time. You prioritise You into every day and every week. This doesn’t have to be difficult. I know that meditation really calms me down and sets me up for the day, so I get up 20 minutes earlier every morning. If I have a really hectic day ahead, I may only spend 10 minutes meditating but I know that it’s really beneficial for me so I do it.
I try and walk in nature every day because it is great for my physical and mental health. I don’t do it in the mornings but try and do it at lunchtime when I can. If I miss out one day, I don’t beat myself up over it. Things don’t have to be perfect.
I also have regular reflexology and massage because this supports and nourishes me. I plan these treatments and put them in my diary.
So how can you make time for what you love? I think the best way to start is by writing down what is important to you. Then think of the ways you can include these things into your life. Get up 1o minutes earlier if this is doable for you or make sure you take a lunch break each day so you get some time out, or have some quiet time in the evenings. Book in appointments for things you enjoy on a regular basis. Let others, including your family know that this is your time. They make like to take note and do the same for themselves.
We all have the same 24 hours and we can easily fill every minute being busy. The demands of work and family can be all consuming but if we don’t prioritise time for ourselves, we end up burnt out and exhausted. I know, because I did.
I now include things that I love and are important for my well being into my week. I prioritise ‘Me’ time because this nourishes my body and soul and the more I am fulfilled, the more I am available to be there for others. Being depleted doesn’t serve anyone!
So start to remember just how important you are to the world. Put time aside just for You in whatever way that you enjoy.
Make this a regular part of your day just as eating your meals or brushing your teeth is. The more you do it, the more it will become a part of your life.
And isn’t that the best way to live!
If Reflexology is on your list of prioritising You, give me a ring or email with any questions. I would love to hear from you.
Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.