I find I must prioritize my life’s balance above anyone else’s. This might sound simple, but it requires awareness, diligence, and huge amounts of courage. There are no more powerful tools in my toolbox than the ones that help me recognize the things that fill me up and the people, places, and things that deplete my energy.
Prioritizing the Self is a personal survival technique and a non-negotiable to living a life of health and well-being. We are taught that putting ourselves first is selfish. I understand. Yet, no matter how many ways you try to prove this “selfish” theory correct, you’ll never come out on the winning side of that debate.
I know now that overriding my body’s messages to rest is a slippery slope and will inevitably lead to events I regret (clumsy and avoidable circumstances that bring sadness and personal disappointment).
Holding yourself as a priority leads to better self-awareness and happier outcomes.
Don’t take my word for it if this sounds like something you’d like to check out. Try it out for yourself with these simple steps to big change.
1) Reclaim the morning through meditation. Start your day focusing on your breath, body, and spirit. You build from that place of awareness all day. Let that be the trajectory for your day.
2) Notice everything. The clothes you pick for the day, the breakfast foods you choose, and whether you listen to the radio in the car or drive silently. How does your mood change based on your choices? All of these choices help you learn about what makes you happy.
3) Populate your day deliberately. Do you have the energy to be uber-productive, or is this a day to simplify your activities? If you have no choice because of deadlines, how will you get through your day without feeling discouraged or irritable? Understanding how to care of yourself will give you a better sense of how much you can reasonably and responsibly take on.
4) Choose whether to have a social day or step back. Not every day is a day to tackle the hard conversations, make the big decisions, or even make small talk. Don’t force it if you’re not in the mood for company.
5) Find an activity that lifts your spirit. Sometimes a simple treat can turn a bad day into an okay one and an OK day into a great one. Try:
- buying flowers for yourself or a loved one
- playing that awesome new song you just heard again and again
- treat yourself to a special warm or cold drink (for me, it’s a matcha latte with oat milk and a dash of honey)
6) Get outdoors. There is nothing that revives my spirit like being outside. No matter what time of year, where I am, or what I am doing, I get myself out in the fresh air. When I feel the temperature of my life rising, instead of subscribing to the intensity, I step out to cool down. A short or long walk or even a few breaths outside can give me a fresh perspective.
7) Offer gratitude. Seeking out a feeling of gratitude can be the healing tool you need. That’s not to say it’s easy. I know that trying to find a silver lining during a crisis can feel like a cold slap in the face. “How can I give thanks for an experience that caused me pain?” is a question I often get from my clients. I understand because that exact thought has come up for me during difficult times. However, the very act of cultivating the opposite thought in the midst of a painful situation can be amazingly powerful. Saying thank you brings power back to you. You are actively deciding to think in another way, and this simple act can launch you into powerful healing places.
8) Call upon the people who lift you. There are magical people in our lives who remind us of what we love about ourselves and give us a powerful sense of community. Know who those people are for you, and reach out to them when needed. Text or call them if they are far away or set up a visit, but do it soon. Simply arranging this time will make you feel better instantly.
Prioritizing yourself and your well-being can be challenging, but by taking the steps outlined above, you can create a life full of energy, joy, and gratitude. Making the effort to prioritize yourself is an act of self-respect that will pay dividends in the long run. Each of us can create a balance that works for us and practice self-care in our own unique way.