How to make yourself a priority is about why you need to make yourself a priority – what really happens when you make yourself a priority – how to let someone else make you that priority – and how do you pull it off without feeling guilty!
JUST READING THIS LIST WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER
Make time for you. Write in your journal. Get rid of the blasted guilt. Stop saying yes to everyone. Ask for help. Love the skin you’re in. Let go of areas you can’t control. Breathe. Smile, you’re alone and it’s quiet! Know that who you are, is capable! Know that if you don’t like your life you can change it! Embrace yourself and your emotions. Surround yourself with positive influence and people.
Feels good right!
MAKE TIME FOR YOU
Taking time for you means, closing the door. Seriously. Did you ever picture growing up and one day you’d need to read an article like this? I didn’t.
So how do you take that bubble bath, or watch your show or football game, read a book, or go out with friends? The first step is to think of the list above, add more to it, like, color, draw, do yoga and meditate, work on your wood projects, or whatever it is that fulfills your needs.
In optimal situations, you should take control of your life, be assertive and make it clear that you will start taking time for you and sometimes you need to be left alone. You will learn how to do that as you continue reading. And this article only one in a series I’m putting together, because one article will not do the trick. This takes time.
I say alone, because if you have kids, a business, or a spouse/partner, then alone time is hard to come by. Once you have kids, you never go to the bathroom alone again! That’s a fact! Not until they grow up enough that you can lock the door.
Hectic lives are old news for 2020. The consequences of overworking and stretching yourself too far is something we all understand to some degree. So why do we do it? We love our families and do too much in a kind of denial that things will come together. That next year, you’ll have more time. When Brian finishes his degree, when Sarah has the baby, when the kids are a little older, when Kate get her business off and running, and so on.
So, knowing you deserve some self-care, how do you maneuver around the guilt and take your time? How do you even have the energy to create a self-care plan?
Is it that easy to decide what part of our lives matter more and purge! No, it’s not. Everything successful in life starts with brainstorming, a review, a plan, and serious management.
“I went to law school. I spent a lot of money and time. And now I’m a nanny, housekeeper, homeschooler, driver, chef, therapist, referee, and so on. Why do I feel so selfish? I can’t take time for me,” says a stay at home mom, mother of two.
“I have a child at home and one on the way. I’ve committed to being the best working mom on the planet. But my daughter says she doesn’t see me enough and she’s acting up at school. How can I take time for me?” says a working mom, mother of almost two.
“I’m the director of a large bank and I’m required to continue my education while working twelve hours days and commuting two hours in what I call “Freeway parking hell” each day. I have a wife and three children at home who want to have fun on the weekends. Prioritization? I am not on that list,” says a working dad, father of three.
MAKING YOURSELF A LIST HELPS PRIORATIZE
- Create a one year plan. (And if you are able, do a three and a five-year plan as well.)
- List what will happen if you continue on the path you’re on. Be realistic.
- How will it affect your family?
- Get life insurance. I can’t tell you how backups cause us to relax! It’s silly, but it’s who we are. Humans are built to survive, our instincs to work and prepare for the worst is in our genes.
- How will prioritizing affect you?
- What happens if you give up our identity while your spouse works and 5 years later you are single? Don’t cringe, the divorce rate is still about 50%, and not planning for both partner’s careers and futures can be your downfall later on. Preparing, only says your partner cares about you. It says you care about your education and priorities too. Being a stay at home mom is the hardest job on the planet indeed! But it will slap you in face when the kids get older and you have no qualifications outside of household management. Don’t negate the skills it takes to do what you do, but don’t expect the world to be fair and recognize it.
- What matters to your kids? They have a voice.
And if ideas for self-care are not possible, you don’t have time or can’t afford it, then my friend, what are you doing?
Talk to your family, ask them how they can contribute to the “make yourself a priority” fund. Explain why you do what you do, and that you want to spend more time with them, give them everything, but you need a bit of you-time too.
Amazingly kids, spouses, partners, friends, and family, have as much love for you as you do them. They can help and they will. Kids love to help cook, teach your oldest how to make cookies and your personal cookie chef will jump in. What a huge difference!
Kids love to help and can save you a lot of work!
Nothing sexier to a woman than a man who will arm wrestle her for who does the dishes! Right?
WRITE THINGS DOWN IN A JOURNAL
Inspirational quotes cause us to relax. Just taking five-minutes to write will open up creative ways to manage your life better.
Ask yourself these questions if you’ve got writer’s block.
- What did you love about today and what would you change so that tomorrow can be better?
- Describe the challenges.
- Write your goals down.
- What you love, feel, hear, dream about. Write everything you feel like writing.
GET RID OF THE GUILT – IT’S NOT SELFISH TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU
Feeling like an afterthought? I do sometimes. And then it turns to guilt when I wnat to take me-time.
As with anything else, you tome has costs. It is not free. And despite what everyone says about taking it, the reason you don’t is that it does cost. Somewhere back in school or sitting with your grandmother, you were once told you, you are special, you matter. But I bet they never said, expect not to matter.
One of the biggest reasons not to feel guilty when you take time for you, is that it’s the opposite. You should feel guilty if you don’t take time. You matter. Without me-time, you cannot rejuvenate and cope with stress! You will not be at your best with anyone you love. Doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, a spouse, a lover, or a friend. Taking that time builds your stress resilience and focus for the important things in your life.
Without the energy after rest and rejuvenation, the mind and body is a mess. Is that fair to you? No. And it’s not fair to those you love.
Perfection is an idealization. I worked 17 hours a day getting my business off the ground. I wanted my effort to be perfect, meaning I’d work my ass off. I literally wore myself out. Long story short, I began walking 3 miles a day. The first week, I worried with each step, what I was not getting done. Three weeks later I was accomplishing more than I did before the walks. The perfect system and idealization that works is remembering you matter.
It makes no difference whether you understand or not. Take time for you and you are a better at everything.
STOP SAYING YES TO EVERYONE – BE HONEST TO THOSE AROUND YOU
Be honest about your time. Calendar out your daily activities for a month. How much time do you really have to give? If you’re not able to prioritize you, how can you with a conscience, say yes to another person until you have given to yourself?
It actually helps to write up your weekly plans. Visualize it, take a deep breath and accept it. You’re either too busy or you’re not. When you’re fully aware and have accepted your busy schedule, it’s much easier to pause before saying yes again.
The next time someone approaches you for a favor, your mind will go straight to that schedule you wrote up, and you’ll feel less guilty to say, NO.
Taking control of you is power. That means managing yourself. Remember the schedule and answer honestly. That is being the best you can be and it will feel GREAT!
Also, when you stop saying yes to everyone, your true friends will understand.
THE SELF-CARE SOLUTIONS: ASK FOR HELP – PEOPLE WANT TO HELP
Now, this takes trial, error, and practice. If you’re the type of person who has to be told to ask others to help, then you’re probably thinking no one wants to help, no one can do it as well as you, or perhaps you suffer from Emotional vulnerability: The anxiety about being rejected, shamed, or judged as inadequate can cause a person to never ask for help. If this is you, talk to someone, no one deserves to feel that way.
So, back to getting used to the idea that others are not only happy to contribute but excited and want to help, will blow you away.
I’ll tell you a secret, when you never ask for help; you do everything yourself, others think you don’t want them. They think you have it under control. They might even think they aren’t good enough. Now, if that is true, how terrible when it’s not so. It’s you with little confidence that stops you from asking. So, let’s do a confidence exercise.
BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE – YOU’LL NEVER FORGET TO PRIORITIZE YOU AGAIN
The best way to build confidence is to practice it. Confidence doesn’t appear like magic out of the sky. Some of us are brave enough at a young age to appear to have been blessed with it out of thin air, but it always boils down to trial and error as life progresses. Discovering your purpose in life makes you more confident because you’re learning about you and practicing the new you. Practice my friends, it’s almost like magic.
Okay, back to that guy who is terrible at asking for help. Well, with some practice, it’s just a matter of time before you realize that asking is the way to go. Start with one small favor from someone who will not say no to you, then you’ll go bigger and bigger until you’re able to ask that person you’d never have asked before, maybe they are a stranger, maybe they are the big MOM at the PTO? It doesn’t matter. Maybe you’re eating dinner with friends and potatoes are at the far end, you want them, you know you do, but even asking for someone to pass them is hard. Well, it won’t be if you start practicing asking. You’ll notice that smile on someone face, “Sure,” as they pass those delicous potatoes, and in fact, several people might try to pass them at once!
Have you ever wondered why you don’t ask for help so much? Did you know that confident people not only admit they can’t do everything, but they don’t want to do it all? They are aware that trying to do it alone is suicide, unproductive, and unfair.
“One way to build confidence in just about anything is to invest energy in it and work hard at it. Practice, my friends!”
Try building your confidence up and you will not want to do everything anymore. That’s awesome!
Build you and you build your future. Abuse you and you have less of a future. I won’t go into great detail what self-care is not, that it’s not healthy. It doesn’t protect your future, or get eveything done. It wears you out and your productivity is not optimal.
MOMS WHO DON’T MAKE THEMSELVES A PRIORITY TEACH THEIR DAUGHTERS THE SAME, AND THEIR SONS LEARN THAT FUTURE WIVES ARE NOT TOP PRIORITY
Imagine what your child’s future would look like if he or she followed your role-modeling? According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). How you model your own persistence as a parent to any task is passed on to your precious children.
Now, I know you love your children, and if that’s the reason you find time for yourself, then cheers. Because you deserve it and so do your children.
Yes, it’s true, in marriage or as singles, we sometimes are not the priority. Challenges stop us from taking care of ourselves. Great. You’re a good person and you should at times be on the bottom of the priority list.
But you should have a regular schedule that keeps you as a priority on the top of the list, and it should be taken very seriously.
EVALUATE WHAT CAUSES YOU TO STOP PRIORITIZING YOURSELF
This is an important question. Do you feel good about you? Do you feel you’re just as important as other people that you know. Like your friends, your spouse, your family, or your children?
Maria, a special client of mine, and a single mom transitioned through rough times – but learned to prioritize herself. Before her divorce, all through her marriage, she did not feel equal to her husband, other moms, or her family and she was famous for being the sacrificial lamb. She now feels equal.
No blame, it wasn’t her husband’s fault. We jump way too fast to assume men are always the cause. They can be, but in this case, it was Maria, she had not graduated from college, hadn’t worked in 8 years, had two lovely children and an absent husband off on business trips while married. She developed a habit of never giving to herself.
She noticed that her young son didn’t prioritize her on Mother’s Day several years after her divorce. Her son adored and loved her deeply. He’d simply never seen her make herself a priority and no one was there to teach him. Maria’s family were in another country. He was too young when his parents divorced to have learned from his father. And say what you might, but school and television ads do not teach a child to prioritize their moms.
We’ve all seen movies where the children make breakfast and sneak upstairs with a Mother’s Day breakfast tray and flowers. But when you’ve seen you’re mom put herself down for years with words like. “I don’t need anything but your love.” “Don’t make a fuss.” how easy it is to miss out on celebrating that person when you’re a young child.
Self-care is not selfish, self-care for moms is highly important in Maria’s case, and a self-care plan could change everything with a little practice.
I had to teach to my son how to take care of me as well. It’s why helping Maria was so easy. It felt weird at first. He and I were away from family overseas and my son wanted to honor me on my birthday and Mother’s Day, but he wasn’t sure how. When I asked him at age 10, what he thought he should do, he said, “You always say you don’t need anything.” And he’d have drawn me a picture with a poem, but he was still not sure. It was that day when I realized what I was doing to him, that I stopped.
I began telling him that he needed to help, care, give, support, and in that first few months, I saw how happy he was when I’d say, “It’s time for me to take a break, can you finish putting the dishes away, or, “I think I’ll treat myself.” He’d smile, he began making lunches for me without my asking. He’d try to fold the laundry. What a mess. He made me happy, and I felt better, more relaxed, and a better mother that year.
There are no reasons to stop prioritizing yourself. You and your family depend on you taking care of you!