Monday, 7 February 2011

Putting Yourself First

This article is for people who in an effort to be good caregivers, parents, spouses etc have neglected themselves and have put their needs at the bottom of a very long “to-do” list. It will offer some insight on putting yourself first and why it’s important to do so.

Do you ever feel guilty about putting yourself first? As a mother I used to suffer from this syndrome too, until not very long ago. Everything I did had to include my daughter and if it didn’t (even if that was because it wasn’t practical) I would beat myself up and spiral into negative self talk about how I was a bad mother. Doing something for or by myself at that time meant that I was putting her aside and that didn’t make me feel very good. It took a while for me to get over this purely because I didn’t realise that this wasn’t about my daughter or anybody else – it was about me and how much I value myself.

Everyone needs to recharge their batteries from time to time, more so if you are someone who wears more than one hat i.e. father, breadwinner, primary care giver etc. Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a few minutes out of EACH day to put yourself first.

Putting yourself first:

  • Gives you time to do the things you love
 When you sacrifice too much for something you can begin to loathe it i.e. raising a family, because you begin to see it as the reason why you no longer have time for your hobbies. Make time for the things that you enjoy doing.

  • Allows for time to spend with you partner/spouse or family
 Often after a long day at the office or one spent chasing the kids around the house, the last thing you want to do is talk and be sociable! Set time aside to nurture your relationships with your loved ones. One date night or family night a week ensures that you all stay connected.

  • Ensures that you still ‘have a life’ post raising your kids
 This one is more for parents who in the process of being the best mom or dad forget about the life they had before the children. Remember that you have an identity separate from your children. Maintaining this will make the empty nest syndrome easier to deal with.

  • Gives you some ‘me time’
 I believe that we are all beginning to realise the importance of ‘me time’. Even if this time is spent doing nothing specific, it allows one to shut the world out, regroup and refocus mentally, emotionally and spiritually – something I feel is paramount in this day and age of technology and fast paced living.

  • Ultimately makes you a more “together” individual
 When we take time to do things that nurture the soul, we become better prepared to take on the world and all our other commitments!

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