So many of us never really think to prioritize ourselves and our health; the thought just never occurs. We’re always so focused on taking care of our families, worrying about the next deadline, or thinking about what others might think, we forget to take a step back and see how we feel. We forget to check in with ourselves to see if we’re doing okay. Have you ever looked in a mirror and asked, how am I doing today?
If we’re not taking care of ourselves and making it a priority, we really can’t focus on other important aspects in our lives. Ignoring our needs is what leads to burnout, causing everyone to lose. If you’ve ever been asked, you don't seem like yourself - are you okay?, it's likely you're forgetting to take care of yourself.
It’s not easy to change overnight and suddenly start focusing on you, but slowly learning to check in with yourself will help you accomplish prioritizing self-care. By prioritizing self-care, you’ll have more energy to be there for what’s more important for you.
Here are some tips on how to get started on making self-care a priority:
1. Ask yourself, why am I not making self-care a priority?
A problem can only be solved if you know exactly what the problem is. Sometimes we want to prioritize self-care but come up with a million excuses as to why not right now. Ask yourself why you’re not prioritizing self-care and list down all the ways on how to overcome those excuses. Once you have the answer to that question, it will become easier to solve your lack of self-care.
2. Ask yourself, what do I need?
We often look for a one-stop-shop solutions that work for everyone but forget that we’re all unique. Ask yourself what you need in that moment, because what you need today could be different from what you need tomorrow. Life is constantly moving, everyday isn’t the same, so why would self-care look the same every day. Sometimes you might feel you need to go to the gym, while other times all you might need to visit nature; it all depends on what is going on in your life and what you need in that moment.
3. Take baby steps
Self-care doesn’t mean changing your entire life right away. It means making little changes here and there to help you feel better, so you can do better and be better. If adding a new self-care routine everyday feels difficult, try once a week or every other day. If an hour is too much, start with just five minutes. If self-care feels like a burden or overwhelming, it won’t work. You need to enjoy your self-care routine in order for it to be truly effective.
4. Schedule it in
If you’re starting to prioritize self-care, schedule it into your day. As much as a spa weekend or shopping spree sounds exciting, it’s not always feasible. Self-care should be added to your everyday life, whether it’s one hour a day or just five minutes. Take five minutes in the morning to sip your coffee without checking your phone or add an hour of meditation to your calendar; whatever works for you. Don’t leave your self-care routine for when you have time, rather make time and include it in your routine.
5. Have compassion for yourself
A fact of life is that we’re always the hardest on ourselves. Instead of berating yourself for missing that gym session or forgetting to meditate for those ten minutes, learn to forgive yourself. We’re all human and sometimes we forget things. When you skip a day of your self-care routine, just tell yourself you’ll try again tomorrow – no judgements and no guilt. Self-compassion leads to many positive things around us – we feel better, sleep better, and eat better.
Making self-care a priority can seem difficult and selfish, but just remember, if you're not feeling 100%, you can’t give a 100%.
These are just some tips on getting started on making self-care a priority, there are many other ways that may work better for you.
Just remember, always put yourself first.