The more they say that it is selfish to think of yourself first, the more I feel the need to prioritize myself. Because self-care and self-love are not selfish and as long as I still give love and look after those who need me, prioritizing myself is the right path.
You might feel the same way, and you might be willing to be your own priority, yet the question remains the same: How to prioritize myself? How to put me first without looking selfish and feeling guilty?
How To Make Yourself a Priority and Not an Option
I was raised in a family where women were taught that they should never think of themselves first. My grandmother would sit last on the dining table; she would always put herself food last only after she was sure there is enough for everyone. She was waking up early before everyone and going to sleep last, and I guess that is how it is for many women out there.
And I also understand that looking after others with such dedication makes you a bighearted person who people will always remember.
Yet, I disagree that the “care for everyone” must include “but for me” at the end of the sentence. Moreover, we live in a fast-paced world where rushing through life has become a habit we can’t quit.
Why do we always chase other people’s happiness and wellbeing at the expense of our own? How do we break the selfless circle which gets us to a state of self-hatred and always feeling “not enough”?
I have searched the web for ideas on how to prioritize myself for a few days now. There are some wonderful suggestions, yet, I cannot resonate with all of them.
In the middle of my own creative writing burnout, I decided to think of myself first, which will not happen at the expense of looking after others.
So, I have put together a few tips on how you could prioritize yourself too, and I genuinely hope they give you ideas and convince you that You are as important as the others in your life.
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How do you prioritize your needs?
1. Say No to more work.
You might often feel guilty for saying no, especially if it is about work and pleasing the bosses around you. Yet, saying No at work also means focusing on what you already have and delivering quality more than quantity.
2. Keep your alone time sacred and do not schedule other stuff during that time.
3. The more you feel guilty for prioritising yourself the more you should do it.
It’s clear you have gone over the edge of selflessness, and you are ignoring your needs. Step on your own stubbornness and get to a place of inner comfort when it comes to looking after yourself.
4. Enjoy the sunlight more.
Better quality sleep, stronger bones, increased Vitamin D (which we get only through exposure to the sun), improved mood, decreased signs of anxiety and depression and many other benefits come once you decide to spend more time outside.
5. Eat better and prioritize your gut health.
Even if you work from home and never have time for a proper snack, there are always ways to look after your healthy diet (see these no-bake snacks here)
6. Love your imperfections. And I understand how trivial and cliche that sounds.
For so many years, every industry, self-help books, and personal development story brags about the importance of accepting ourselves just as who we are. Yet, every commercial and article tells us to be better and chase our best selves. And while I agree with both sides, it is to some level. Self-development cannot happen at the expense of your mental health. And instead of chasing numbers (in our bank accounts or on the scale), it would be better to chase inner peace.
How do you prioritize happiness?
7. Free up your days instead of cluttering them with more stuff.
What do you do when you have a gap in your schedule? Do you move things around to “get it all done faster“? I know that sometimes it would truly make you feel better to fit more tasks into a day. But do not make that a habit because it will not be a healthy one.
You could do so many things with your free half an hour gap in your schedule, and they will charge you with positivity. Aim for that.
8. Place self-love and self-care reminders all around the house.
On the bathroom mirror, you could place a note that says “Smile!”. I have on my computer desktop a message that says, “I am grateful for…” so I think of one thing I am grateful for every time I look at it. Put a book next to your bedside table, so you read a page or two before going to sleep. Place your journal on the kitchen table from the night before, so you know to sit and journal first thing in the morning.
There are so many more examples of reminders to be gentle with yourself. Think of a few more and see how they work for you.
9. Journal in the mornings on what is important to you.
I love morning journaling. The mind is still clear, no worries and no problems keeping me busy. I have time to reflect on the previous day and manifest the day ahead.
10. Journal in the evenings for gratitude and appreciation.
This is so important. Gratitude is your saviour when it comes to mental health improvement.
Daily gratitude teaches you not just appreciation of the little things but also focusing on what triggers your happiness. Once you know what actually makes you happy, there is the moment of realization that you are, in fact, a happy person. We are all happy; we just forget it too often.
Recently I designed this morning and evening journal that teaches you how to manifest happiness and reflect on your days in a positive way. Check Inside of My Happiness Journal by clicking here.
11. Find time to read books your soul enjoys.
I understand that self-development is important, and reading books on the topic is an equal priority. However, we often do not know what we truly need. A fiction book that enriches your days, makes you laugh and cry, and takes you to other worlds will relax your soul and mind, and no self-help book can actually give you this mental rest.
Making peace with who you are…
12. Make peace with the way you live your life.
We already agreed that nobody is perfect, and chasing perfection only brings anxiety and disappointment. However, accepting ourselves is not easy, and we often find ourselves battling the same two things: self-acceptance and self-criticism.
First of all, self-acceptance is not a one-time task that you just get done. On some days, it will be easier to love yourself. The sun will shine brighter, and you will forget the extra few pounds, the curves on your waist, the low balance in your bank account, or the fact you cannot find a person who loves and respects you.
On other days you will wake up with the thought of all those and feel miserable and “not good enough”.
Making peace with the way you live your life is not about accepting all those things you resent today and are “okay with” tomorrow. Making peace means accepting that your life has ups and downs, and today is just a bad day. Everyone has them, and they make tomorrow look brighter.
13. Pay attention to what makes you happy.
Sign up for Skillshare and go for classes that promote the lifestyle you wish to have. Watch classes on how to enjoy your hobby more or get better at it. Learn how to practice self-care and self-love. They have everything you might be interested in and also offer 14 days free trial through this link, so your satisfaction is guaranteed.
14. NOTE every moment of Happiness so you NOTICE Happiness.
Be it through journaling, creative writing, drawing, scrapbooking, singing, dancing, or expressing a moment of gratitude – note every happy moment you get to experience. Only by doing that you can actually notice happiness.
Making yourself a priority one day at a time
15. Treat yourself and turn that into a routine.
I used to like the “reward myself” system. Once I finish a project or a job, I would treat myself with whatever my heart desires (food, movie, travel, and so on). Nowadays, I feel like I have totally wronged myself with that system. You see, I don’t have to do extra work to get that piece of clothing, watch that movie, buy myself a cake. I already deserve them because I am constantly doing my best every day, and that is admirable.
Why reward for the extra work and build the habit of doing extra work all the time? Why not organizing my life better, get things done and enjoy “treats” because I have finally freed up my time for them?
16. Take breaks when you need them.
The reason I am in a creative burnout is that I never took breaks when I needed them. And even if I take a few days off, I would feel guilty about them and do something else meanwhile. For example, I took a few days off around New Year’s holidays and ended up creating a 2021 calendar for a friend and then promoting that calendar to my Facebook group… All is well, but I actually spent three full days designing that calendar and got back to work… in the same mental state I left.
Taking breaks is not a reason to feel guilty, but a time to remove that guilt from your life.
17. Practice self-respect with every decision you make.
Self-respect is what we all lack the most. When we respect someone, we do not wake them up in the middle of the night to write down ideas and remind them of everything they did not do correctly.
When we respect someone we do not use their free time to clutter them with more work.
When we respect someone, we do not rush them to get things done faster, we do not blame them for doing a sloppy job, we do not keep them away from getting some rest time, we do not make them feel miserable for making mistakes, and we do not tell them they are not worth it…
If you do any of those to yourself, then self-respect is what you might be missing. It is time you throw that attitude away and start loving yourself better.
How to make yourself a priority and not an option
Making You a priority is not easy, and if you are anything like me, the feelings of guilt might be creeping into your mind already.
Yet, being here, reading this, says you truly need that mindset shift, and I promise you, it is worth it. Thinking of yourself first does not mean you ignore others’ needs, but it means you respect yours too.
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