The Art of Prioritizing Yourself

In a world that often demands us to wear multiple hats and juggle various responsibilities, the concept of putting yourself first can feel incredibly selfish. We're taught from a young age to be helpful, to take care of others ahead of ourselves, to put others' needs ahead of our own. As parents, caregivers, and spouses, we have been sold a lie and that is, to love someone is to put their needs ahead of our own. The truth is — you cannot pour from an empty cup. There is a reason when flying the safety instructions clearly say, you must first put your own mask on BEFORE you help someone with theirs. The importance of prioritizing yourself and making self-care a priority should never be underestimated. Here's why:

1. Mental and Physical Wellbeing
Continuously putting others' needs before your own will lead to extreme stress, burnout, and exhaustion which will impact your mental and physical health negatively. Prioritizing your needs will almost immediately improve your mental and physical wellbeing. When we prioritize self-care, taking time to rest, engaging in activities that we enjoy and maintaining healthy habits, we are more likely to feel energized, positive, and stable.

2. Personal Fulfillment
As a caretaker of a child or family member you may feel putting yourself first feels unnecessary and wrong. When the guilt you feel over hiring a sitter or caretaker because they are “only little once” or the family member you are caring for “prefers” you creeps in, remember, even Superheroes have a sidekick. So attend a book club, enroll in a class or spend an hour in the gym. Remember, when you put yourself first, it allows you to be more present to those in your care, more involved and more loving.

3. Better Relationships
Ironically, by putting yourself first, your relationships become healthier and feel more satisfying. When we neglect our own needs and wants, we become incredibly resentful, frustrated and our relationships become strained. When we take care of ourselves, we're not only happier and healthier, we're also better equipped to maintain positive and balanced relationships.

4. Independence and Self-Empowerment
Putting yourself first creates a sense of independence and empowerment. By prioritizing our needs, we assert our right to make decisions that benefit us. This breeds self-reliance and boosts self-esteem. When we learn to rely on ourselves for happiness and fulfillment, we become empowered, more confident versions of ourselves.

5. A Ripple Effect of Positivity
When you put yourself first, you create a ripple effect of positivity in your life. When you're happier, healthier, and more fulfilled, the positivity naturally extends to those around you. Self care is an ongoing commitment towards a better quality of life, allowing you to become the best version of yourself possible.

Putting ourselves first is not an act of selfishness; it's an act of self-love and self-respect. It's about recognizing and honoring our needs and wants, taking care of our mental and physical health and creating space for personal growth. It's about cultivating healthy relationships, fostering a sense of independence and empowerment, and creating a ripple effect of positivity.

While it's important to care for others and contribute to the greater good, it's equally important, if not more so, to prioritize ourselves. After all, we are in a better position to help others and make a positive impact when we are at our best.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
-Anne Lamott

Groups to check out:

How will you prioritize yourself this week, this month, this last half of 2023? Please let us know in the comments below.

Wishing you all the best,
Team SG

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This is the best advice I've read in awhile. It's good to see it again and to reinforce what I know deep down. Thank you!

It is so important to prioritize yourself, so we are so glad that the Post was a good reminder to you!

My homework is to incorporate in my daily affirmations what I've read here and to print this out and post it on my wall and refrigerator.

Yes, such a great idea, seeing things often help us not forget. Remember, it only takes a few weeks to make things into a habit.

Something I do to prioritize myself is to take one day a week to dress up and go ballroom dancing. Since there is nothing in my immediate area like this, I go 82 miles one way to attend a lesson and dance. I get to have fun and meet new people. I've made friends and developed a skill that is fun and good for you. It's been a game changer.

@mmadlecl That sounds amazing, far, but really amazing. It is so important to find your thing and just make it happen. We hope you had a wonderful July 4th holiday.

My roommate (her new official title, per her own declaration), is going to visit her terminally ill daughter for two weeks in August.
Inside, I literally rejoiced; two whole weeks of silence and freedom from caregiving and her endless non-stop stream-of-psychotic-conciousness blithering. I promptly signed up for a wilderness-based silent meditation retreat; can you imagine? After years of listening to her hyperverbal delusional word salad (and frequent verbal abuse) 24/7/365; NO ONE TALKING CRAZY AT ME! NOTHING TO SAY! SILENCE! PRECIOUS, GLORIOUS, HEALING SILENCE! HAHAHAHAHA!

Turns out, my presence is commanded and required to serve as her emotional support animal.
No respite for me.

That sounds incredibly hard, but we are so glad you have 2 weeks to reset and enjoy the solitude and silence. Is there anyway you can find time to get away when she is at home, would she stay with a caretaker?