Despite the cultural programming that nearly all of us have encountered throughout life, to put yourself first is anything but selfish. Everyone is familiar with the message conveyed by flight attendants directing adults to place an oxygen mask over their own face before assisting others, but have you ever deeply contemplated why this is so? It is impossible to offer your best to anyone when you don’t place your own needs first. Keeping your body, mind, and spirit in top shape allows you to assist those you love in the most effective manner possible while serving as an example of how important it is to set personal boundaries and make sure your own needs are met.
Self-Care Prevents Exhaustion
Some people will run themselves into the ground in a desperate attempt to please everyone around them. If this is one of your personal tendencies, it is important to realize that this behavior is not only unsustainable but is likely to foster a grouchy attitude that is anything but attractive to those around you. An exhausted person is consistently unhappy and the frustration that accompanies this feeling can only spread negativity. Bottom line – if you can’t help with a positive attitude and joy in your heart, you are much better off taking some time to meet your own needs before assisting another.
Establishing Personal Boundaries
Establishing personal boundaries that provide you time to rejuvenate yourself can make all the difference in the world with regard to adequate self-care. Perhaps you need quiet time in the evenings after your children have gone to sleep or feel it would negativity impact your family time to meet with a client over the weekend. There are no set rules for personal boundaries, so you’ll need to listen to your heart and determine what feels right for you. When expressed with love and kindness, people are generally very understanding towards and even appreciative of someone who can set (and maintain!) healthy boundaries.
Dedicate Time to Put Yourself First
Once you accept the fact that putting yourself first is the most important thing you can do to best serve others, setting aside a dedicated portion of each day will allow you to optimize your time and streamline your self-care routine. If you feel best after a morning meditation followed by a brisk walk outdoors, then be sure to consistently wake up at the necessary time and inform those around you that you are not available until after your morning routine. You may find an afternoon rest session boosts your energy for the remainder of the day and/or prefer to spend the evenings doing something just for yourself. Figure out what works for you, then set aside time for those activities.
Set a Great Example for Others
Many people in our society genuinely do not know how to be happy or care for themselves. Maintaining an adequate level of self-care is a great way to create a state of internal happiness and serve as a positive example to the people that matter most in your life. How do you feel when you are greeted with a smile as opposed to a frown or somber expression? Even if they are not consciously aware of it, others can feel when those around them are in a bad mood. Showing the world the importance of self-care through your actions is the best way to display the vital importance of self-care.