10 From GEM:
10 Cool Ways To Put Yourself First
There is only one person responsible for the quality of the life you live. That person is you.
No doubt about it, if we women don’t make ourselves a priority, nobody is going to do it for us. Between fulfilling our kids’ needs, our partner’s requests, or our boss’ demands, it’s an uphill struggle to find time even to take a shower. Yet, finding time to take care of ourselves is exactly what we should do to more fully enjoy life. Since we love keeping it simple around here, read on for 10 easy ideas to put yourself first in your own life.
1. FEEL GRATITUDE FOR
TAKING “ME” TIME
Why do so many women feel guilty about taking much needed “me” time? Maybe it’s because some of us—whether we realize or not—are striving for perfection when good enough will do just fine. Turn that guilty feeling on its ugly little head and feel gratitude instead. The next time your partner puts the kids to bed while you put up your feet and read a magazine, instead of thinking, “I should be doing that” say to yourself, “Thank goodness! Now I can relax.” Make a conscious effort to find the good instead of the guilt.
Read more: Life Lessons: Susanna Macomb
2. LEARN TO SAY “NO”
The need to please prevents many women from using the word no. Such a shame, too, because think how many things we could cross off not put on our to-do lists if we had simply said, “Sorry, I can’t do that.” Putting ourselves first starts with not wasting time doing things we don’t want to do. You might have to take your son to soccer practice, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the team mom.
Read more: Hey Mom.. How About You Just. Say. NO?
3. GET THE SUPPORT OF YOUR FAMILY
Let’s be clear: family support for putting yourself first is a nice-to-have, not a must-have. But if your family is used to you catering to their every need, it’s okay to put them on notice that you’re taking time out for yourself. Let them know a date and time when you have a non-negotiable appointment with yourself. You won’t be available by phone, text, email, or tweet. If you were in a job interview, you wouldn’t allow interruptions; don’t let anyone interrupt the short amount of time you need to recharge your batteries.
4. PLAN YOUR DAY
Planning your day before it happens gives you a chance to plan your “me” time. Spend a few minutes before bed or wake up a few minutes early to write down what your day will look like. If you want to spend some time reading, write it down. Even if it’s just 10 minutes before you cook dinner, putting pen to paper (or finger to touch screen) solidifies the importance of what you’re doing.
Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Ways To Brighten Your Day
5. CREATE RITUALS
Putting yourself first is something that should be done at some point every day, so create rituals where you do just that. Meditating, exercising, having a meal/snack alone, journaling, and enjoying a cup of tea are just a few of the hundreds of rituals you can do every day to make time for yourself.
6. GO OUT BY YOURSELF
You are your own best friend. For that reason, it’s essential to enjoy your own company. Going out by yourself gives you space to think and reflect. It’s a great time to find out who you are and to understand your way of thinking. Every person on earth is constantly growing and evolving. You should never be able to say that you know all there is to know about yourself. Spending time alone allows you to discover new things.
Read more: Life Lessons: Michelle Reece
7. GO OUT WITH FRIENDS
Getting together with good friends is therapeutic. Think of the laughter and good feelings that ensue when you have conversations with people you don’t get to interact with as often as you’d like. Go out with friends to hear your “grown up” name a few times and to remember who that woman really is.
8. DISCOVER YOUR PASSION
Who do you really want to be? What is your mission in life? Try taking this insightful quiz as a starting point to learn more about what drives you. Think about the things that excite you. What do you love? When you love something, you are likely to be engaged in the activity, and this makes you feel energized. Discovering your passion is one of the most important ways to prioritize your needs.
9. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
Eating well, exercising, and getting a full night’s rest are the trifecta of prioritizing yourself. They’re not the only things, of course, but they are an excellent start. You don’t have to do everything all at once, either. If you’re not ready to give up fast food, limit it to once a week instead of every weekday. Walk a few more steps each day by parking further away and taking the stairs. See if you can turn off the TV and go to bed even 15 minutes earlier than usual. The physical and mental gains of taking care of your body outweigh whatever you have to give up to get there.
10. SET BOUNDARIES
A friend complained to me recently about another friend who drops by her house unannounced—children in tow—and expects her to drop whatever she’s doing to entertain and have lunch. My friend can stop this problem by saying something like, “I can’t have company right now. So sorry you made the trip over. Next time, please give me a call first.” If you have friends like this, there’s no need to be angry with them. After all, their boundaries are not your boundaries. If you don’t teach them how to treat you, they’ll treat you the way they want to be treated! That’s not always to your benefit.
Read more: Life Lessons: Fran Meadows
So what are YOU doing to put yourself first? Which of these ideas are you going to try right now? Let us know!
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Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is a stay at home mom and writer who loves all things chocolate. Read more about Alexis on her blog lilliebelle.org, email her at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5.