Reasons That You Need To Put Yourself First

How does it feel when you read articles saying you should start to put yourself first? What does the voice in your head say? Chances are it might feel a bit uncomfortable or even wrong. So many of the messages from society and during your childhood are about putting others first, being good, and unselfish.

 

Look back over your life and see how often you have been expected to drop everything for someone else, let someone else go first, or have the bigger cookie. Do you feel entitled to say no or to quarantine your ‘me-time’ whether it’s going to the gym or having a massage or an early night? You might be feeling overwhelmed by the demands of others, or even resentful that people expect you to drop everything for them.

 

Here are four good reasons why you need to put yourself first.

 

  1. Your physical health

Weak boundaries and prioritizing others ahead of yourself will increase your stress levels, keep the levels of the stress hormone cortisol high, and leave you feeling exhausted. And as if that’s not enough, the flow-on effects of all this are high blood pressure, increased bodily inflammation, and a less resilient immune system. Rest allows your body to heal and restore so you’ll have much more energy! Look, I get it. Just consider me the pot calling the kettle black-I know that sometimes it feels like you have no choice but to burn the candle at both ends. When I have too much to do, I usually sacrifice sleep in the short term to get everything done. I always follow up a week like that with extra rest and recuperating time. In the end, we are the ones that suffer from a sustained schedule that does not allow for any downtime or breathing room. I have found that when I make sure that I do take the time out and say no to other people and things, I am more productive and able to work better. I also don’t feel like I am cheating myself-I feel more in control.

 

  1. Your mental health

All the stress and resentment of being at everyone else’s beck and call will increase your anxiety levels. Anxiety and stress have been shown to deplete the levels of serotonin (the happy hormone) in your brain which can increase your risk of depression. Putting yourself first will mean a happier, more positive you.  For me, I get frustrated when I spend all of my time doing things I didn’t plan on doing, or tasks taking longer than I thought. I forget that I have choices that I can make and I can take control of what is happening to me. In order for me to even begin to take that step and make the decision to say no or even begin to set the schedule that will benefit me, I have to remind myself of my goals and what I am trying to achieve. That makes it easier to set the boundaries and put a stop to the madness.

 

  1. You’ll be a better you

In fact, you’ll be your best you! And there’s no way you can be your best you if you’re running on empty all the time. Putting yourself first and giving yourself some self-care is crucial for refilling your tank. You’ll have more energy, be more present in your relationships, and be more fun to be around. In our leadership program this past year, we took a look back at Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I was reminded that you need to make deposits into your emotional bank account, otherwise, you will have nothing to withdraw when you need it.  The cool thing about this concept is the “deposits” can be anything that makes you feel good.  I completely take Sunday off from everything-I do not answer my phone, I do not do ANYTHING that I do not want to do. I usually stay home and read some fictional sci-fi book about the end of the world-something that has battles, romance, and the good guy winning.   I spend time with my husband and family and that does it for me.  What will it be for you?

 

  1. It’s not a zero-sum game

It does not mean it has to be all or nothing.  Sometimes, I would not do something for me because I could not devote the full amount of time to it. For example, when I wanted to work out for 45 min. If I could not do the whole 45 min, I would do nothing-I wouldn’t even start the task. Now, I do what I can whether it is 10 min, 15 min, or 30 because it will all add up and it is better than doing nothing. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you’ll disregarding other people’s needs. It’s putting everything into balance and acknowledging that you’re a loved one too! Your needs are as valid as those of your family, friends, and colleagues. And in putting yourself first, you’ll be in a better place for having improved relationships with other people based on honesty and mutual respect for each other’s needs.

Remember, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent”.

 

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