Sometimes, It's About You
Cover Photo By RawPixel
It doesn't matter what your background is, where you come from or who you want to be when you eventually grow up; you will be told - at some point in life - that you need to put other people first. Think of others. Think about how other people feel. Act in a way that will make others see you as a person with respect and dignity. You will be told how you're not supposed to be selfish and how you're not supposed to do anything for yourself without feeling guilty. Do you want to know a secret?
Sometimes, it IS about you.
There are moments in life, while it's busy speeding past and becoming complicated, that you need to put yourself first and above everyone else. You can be a good parent and still put yourself first sometimes. You can be in the throes of addiction recovery, putting yourself through therapy and embracing sobriety, and again put yourself first. You could be sitting in an office, drowning in emails and deadlines, and still manage to find the moment in the day that puts you first. You just have to be willing to find those moments and embrace them. Putting yourself first does not make you selfish. In fact, you're a better person for other people when you put yourself in the forefront of your own mind. You deserve to put yourself first: as long as you're willing to learn how to do just that.
It's very easy to let your own needs fade into the background, so let's take a look at how you can put yourself first. If you're struggling right now at this junction in your life, you need to think about how you're going to take a step toward putting yourself before others to heal and relax. Let's take a look at some of the ways that you can do that.
It can shock you, how much the act of taking a deep breath away from the thing that's stressing you out can help. Deep breathing is one of the best ways that you can reduce your heart rate and control your stress. There are always things to do, meetings to attend, difficulties to overcome. The simple act of a deep breath in and out again can make a big difference to your day.
Sometimes, putting yourself first will take a toll on other people and those situations are often not avoided. Getting the right support for yourself is essential. For example, if you are trying to remain sober and are putting yourself through therapy to get well, you may need to gain support for families affected by addiction so that your loved ones are looked after while you're focusing on yourself. There are some moments you NEED to be selfish, but that doesn't mean that you can't give your family some options while you do it.
When you choose the right nutrition, you put your body first. The proper meal at the right time of the day is going to keep you alert, full of energy and ready to face anything. Allow yourself to eat freely and with education about your own nutrition needs in mind, and you'll find that you're putting self-care first.
We all know how important exercise is for mental and physical wellbeing, but the type of activity that you do does matter. Think about gentle exercise like yoga and pilates for those mornings that you wake early. Add in some cardio by taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Move more, and do it because you want to feel energetic and know you're working on your health.
Sometimes, self-care is about socialising. In some situations socialising doesn't feel possible, mainly if your self-care has surrounded your recovery from addiction. Socialising doesn't have to put you in a place of harm, and it can be good for you to spend time with people that bring joy to your life. Take the time to see your friends or family and have some dinner. You could even have a telephone conversation with them over FaceTime or on the phone scheduled each week. A way to prevent isolation is to choose to be more friendly with others.
Break Your Routine
If you are currently stuck in a routine of going to work, completing tasks, going home again and following a method there, you need to break the routine. Get out of the routine and explore something new; experiences can change who we are and create new memories every time we try. Explore new places that you've always had on your bucket list and take a moment to break the routine that has meant you don't put your wants or dreams first.
Put Pen To Paper
We all have dreams and wishes. We all build castles in the sky for what we want our lives to look like. Journaling can change your life. It's the place you could use to put your own wants and needs first, and you can write down whatever you want. You could choose to take a moment every day to write an idea or two about your life down. You can get creative with bullet point journals and paragraph diaries. You can add stickers and glitter pens and washi tape to make it beautiful. If you are struggling in your life right now, you need to get those emotions out and to write them all down can really help.
Sometimes, putting yourself first means putting yourself in front of a double chocolate fudge sundae. Or something delicious that enables you to tune out the world and indulge your senses. How many times have you put your senses first lately? The monotony of work and life can sometimes make us forget how to do it.
Dance It Out
It may not seem like a way to put yourself first, but when you're running around after other people and your stresses begin to build up, you need an outlet. We've mentioned exercise and socialising, but sometimes, cranking up the music and dancing as hard as possible is the best way to get your body moving and feeling the music. Get your blood flowing and release some endorphins; the stress will melt away. If you're detoxing from your addiction, dancing can take your mind off the pain caused and the time you've missed. Dance parties on your own with your favourite song can be positive; try it and see.
Half an hour. Just half an hour of your day needs to be put into yourself and your health. You'll boost your confidence, and you'll take care of you for a while. You don't need to drop a money bomb to do it, either. You just need to permit yourself to look after you. It's never going to be something that you regret, and you're going to be able to heal from your stress and pressure in life.
One way to put yourself forward is to ask yourself what you want. Do you want to have fun in life? Do you want to heal? Do you want to move forward into a period of your life where you finally understand how to look after yourself without guilt? This is all a possibility for you, and a part of it will be in learning something new. Learning isn't just going to forward your career; it's going to help you to find something you love that's just for you.
Self-care looks like so many things, whether you're recovering from addiction or you're simply looking to remember how to be yourself again. Either way, recognising you need help is key. Asking for it? That's up to you.