Let's Stop Prioritizing Ourselves Last!

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I’m busy busy busy. No time to relax! What are you talking about! I have work to do! Don’t you know I’m an A type. I’m a workaholic. I’m on top of everything. I have multiple projects on the go. I can’t justify a break. I’m too busy. I don’t deserve to relax, I haven’t done enough work.

Does any part of this sound familiar to you at all? Welcome to my daily internal dialog.

I have always etched out time in my already busy diary for everyone else but me.

When was the last time I did something for myself? Some me time? Something relaxing? The Christmas holidays. 4 months with virtually no intentionally scheduled, beautiful, me time!

It hit me like a frying pan in the face when I realized this.

My internal self said ‘You are YOU - this is your life, this is your health, your well-being and happiness we are talking about! It’s preposterous I don’t put myself first! What am I doing?

And I sat there and really felt into this and realized as I continue to try to run on empty, I have virtually nothing to give and feel empty, confused, overwhelmed and I don’t honor myself at all.

I think everything is going to stop working or fall down if I don’t work late or don’t get to inbox zero every day. But if you leave your job, it carries on. The company doesn’t close down because you left. (Generally speaking!)

And despite trying to convince myself otherwise, I know if I am empty there’s no way I can contribute to anything meaningful, or bring my best self to the table, or really help anyone else.

I know I need to schedule in that really nourishing, relaxing alone time, even though it feels like I am taking away from work I ‘should’ be doing; but is necessary to fill my tank.

So I realized that it’s really time to put myself first.

It’s about re-framing this to see it as a priority I’m committed to that is non-negotiable. When my car is running low on gas I don’t keep driving around because I’m too busy; it will conk out! I think this is a general mindset many of us are afflicted by, and we may need to shift how we look at it.

The first part of this process is bringing awareness to it, accepting it and owning it. Then start making small mini changes that are easy to implement and achieve.

Since coming to this realization, I have assessed the things I really want to focus on, and the things that can go on my ‘not to do’ list. I have redone all my goals, with some short term, some weekly, some monthly, some 6 monthly, and some 3-5 year goals, all written down.

After some meditating, I got some clarity about what really matters to me and I wrote down all the things I love doing, and I asked myself what I want and what I really need this year.

So I listened to myself and I have clarified how I am going to make some dedicated me time. I have renewed my energy and determination to keep this focus on self and to follow through, and I feel better already. I have even made a bet with a friend, which I lose if I don’t follow through!

What this new way of looking at life means for me is I have been making time to do yoga a few times a week (Even just 15 or 30 minutes) I have been reading more books. I am choosing to put my phone down more and make time to relax and chat with my flatmates instead of working. I walk up the street with a more carefree attitude and a smile on my face. I’ve been eating healthier, taking a more relaxed approach to work (It’s OK to go home earlier and send some emails in your Ugg boots!) and a big one; I have been acknowledging myself when I do a great job and do something well. I congratulate myself, and I make myself feel good first and inner me smiles.

I know that by doing this I’m showing myself the love, kindness and respect I deserve and that I want for others around me.

I realize it is NOT selfish to prioritize yourself first. And actually not taking care of yourself is selfish because eventually someone has to take care of you because your sick and run down, and you bring a watered down malnourished version of yourself to the table and people around you don’t get the best you.

In the few months that I have been doing this, I feel empowered, calmer, more relaxed, stronger in myself, more clear-headed and happier all around.

Instead of go go, busy busy, rush rush, full of anxiety and overwhelmed.

At the end of the day it’s what you want to do and what makes you feel good that matters. It’s as easy as asking yourself; your inner self knows the answer.

There is a lot of misplaced attention and energy spent on feeling anxiety and guilt for not doing something, or not knowing what to do, but the thing is just take action! Put your shoes on and walk out the door. Sit down and do the thing. Or just sit down and do yoga or meditate and ask yourself questions.

I hope that for all our sakes, we all come to a place where are more ourselves, where we are relaxed and refreshed and happier within ourselves. The place where we have the energy and attention to focus on what we are passionate about and do what makes us feel good inside.

In what are the ways you put yourself first? What do you do to schedule in that time for yourself? Do you ask your inner self what it wants?

Stop being last on your to do list and put yourself first and honor yourself!