If you are serious that you want to take care for yourself – you have to start by taking control of the things around you. No more worrying about the million distractions you get every day. If it seems that everyone and everything is after a piece of you – it’s time to put a stop to it. Take control. Make sure to take care for yourself first. If you don’t, you’ll get stressed about how to cope, and the stress will create problems for you both physically and mentally.
There’s no point in giving ‘till you break. You might think it’s required or expected of you. It might feel noble, or the right thing to do. But a positive life is about balance. And if you become unbalanced because you’re doing too much for others and not enough for yourself, well, that just doesn’t make sense, does it?
If you are sacrificing your time for work, missing out on your own interests for those friends, or your sleep because of others, then you aren’t taking care for yourself. Your well-being and happiness are at stake.
Where Do I Draw the Line?
Life is full of compromises, so what are the signs that I’m neglecting my own needs more than I should?
Consider how you spend your days. Keeping a journal for a month or so can be enlightening. Note where your time goes, and what parts are things you want to do, and what are to keep others happy. Naturally enough, work takes up a big chunk of time – but does it override everything else? How much of your thinking time does it dominate? Can you get away from it or is it all-consuming?
How often do you instigate activities with friends? How often are you simply following their lead? And how do you feel about this? Note that following others can be OK – it all depends on whether you feel you have no control, or that everyone else’s needs are met before your own. If you have time for the things that interest you, then your life is probably in balance.
If on the other hand, you feel desperately in need of a break, if you feel fatigued, weakened or drained, chances are you haven’t been giving your own needs enough priority. In that case, it’s time you started to put yourself first occasionally.
How Do I Take Control and Care For Myself
The way you interact with others are life habits. They are learned, and can be unlearned.
First up is the feeling of selfishness you might get when you put your needs first. That is often a feeling that you have, that others don’t share. It is selfish if your needs come first all the time, but not when you keep a balance.
If you don’t take care for yourself, you will be less able to help others. A strong, happy and well-adjusted person is more productive, and better company for friends and family than a stressed out, weak or debilitated shell of a person.
Be sure to give yourself some time for rest, reflection or hobbies. Be confident enough to give yourself a priority at times. Resist the urge to take on more than you can comfortably handle. Take a break from time to time to recharge. Get takeout instead of cooking, have a night in, go to bed early, read a book, go on a holiday – whatever you need.
Set some boundaries on what you will do and let your friends and work colleagues know what these are. They will respect you for them and respect the boundaries.
Your body is a terrific early warning device. Listen to it. If you feel lousy, then do something about it. Look for the source. If you feel stressed out, isolate the reason why and act on it. If you feel physically depleted, take a break, check your diet and consider exercise to build your body’s strength and resilience. If you feel emotionally exhausted, take some time for yourself to regroup and relax.
Your well-being is dependent on how you take care for yourself.
Reduce the noise. Take time away from social media, the news cycle and work emails. Try binge streaming to replace all the other stimulants screaming for attention.
Stop putting everything first before your own needs. It’s not selfish to take some time for self-care. You’ll be a more relaxed, happier and more productive person. This new person will be more appreciated by your family, your friends, your boss and co-workers. Even those around you on your daily commute will feel a little better when all that tension you’ve been emanating disappears.
Taking care for yourself by not neglecting your own needs is a win win for everyone.