10 suggestions for putting yourself first.

By Amy Crawford

Putting yourself first on occasion is not a matter of adopting selfish habits. It's a matter of nourishing yourself to allow you to operate at your optimum, to be the happiest version of you; for the sake of your mental, spiritual and physical health and for the sake of loved ones around you. How often do you berate yourself for getting easily irritated with loved ones because you're so worn out? How often do you berate yourself for eating rubbish during the week because you've nothing in the fridge? Do you have a perpetual feeling of running on empty? Perhaps it's time to start getting a little stricter on yourself and your busy schedule, by always ensuring there is adequate YOU TIME in the diary each week.

With that, here are...

10 suggestions for putting yourself first :

1. Use your calendar
Seems simple enough, but actively scheduling your down time can become a pivotal move in the quest for de-stress. How often do you just barrel through your day bouncing from one meeting/engagement to the next. What if 'you time" WAS one of your meetings? If you're a 9-5'er, consider popping a park stop and book in your diary once a week (assuming summer climes of course).

2. Learn to say no
For what purpose are all your 'yes's' serving you? Are they enriching your life, or merely stretching you too thin? You don't need to feel as though your value will decrease or people will like you less if you back away from certain tasks or engagements at times. What's more, it is ok to just say no - no explanation of 'why' necessary. In the interests of maintaining my energy (and knowing now what my limits are), I have a self imposed rule as to how many mid week evenings I'll go out and I plan them so that they are never back to back. I do the same in business. I will very comfortably say no to an opportunity if it means stretching myself (and my health) too thin. 

3. Always have an extended break booked.
The mere thought of something to look forward to is exciting and energising. The momentary daydream of the escape to come is like a trip in itself - refreshing. Do you have a trip planned? It need not be expensive if you don't have lots of extra cash, weekends away camping come summer are a great option.

4. Schedule weekend down time for yourself.
A Sunday afternoon nap, some time on the couch with a book; it's important to consciously take time to reset before another week starts. Back to back social engagements can be fun but exhausting and heading into a Monday leaving you playing catch ups for the week is never ideal. So when do you find time to take a breath? Another self imposed rule for me is at least one weekend morning sleep in, where I don't have to get up to go anywhere - no racing out the door to meet someone, just me in my own relaxed pace, taking it easy (and to the parents out there, I'm sorry, I appreciate this is quite the luxury!). Whatever the case, let's refer to number 1 here and schedule it.

5. Weekly breakfast in a cafe.
The smallest moments can be luxurious and it is that feeling of luxury that is rejuvenating. Go in search of this feeling. Take a book to your favourite cafe and take five (or an hour) once a week. A simple treat.

6. Monthly massage or facial.
The traditional definition of putting yourself first for sure. Why? Because it works. It's nourishing, it leaves you feeling really good, primed for the rest of your week. If you are Melbourne based, my recommendation is Joanna Beecher of Still Beauty, a mobile masseuse (with magic hands). Once a month Jo arrives at my door - it's a recurring appointment that doesn't get moved for anything else. It's me time and it's golden. 

7. Sunday baking and food prep.
Fail to plan, plan to fail - spend some time ensuring you'll nourish your body for the week ahead! You ought to find a recipe or two on this site to help you in that department! 

8. Personal admin.
How much better do you feel when your personal finances are in order? Your bills are paid? Your hair is cut? Your car is clean? Oh how I loathe sitting down to a hectic working space - it leaves me feeling cluttered and disorganised. Personal admin is not a 'chore' I leave to my weekend. Admittedly, it's easier working for yourself to pick and choose your tasks, but if you're self employed, you ought to consider doing this too. I consider Friday afternoons a great time for this. My weekends are for down time, unwinding, not for pesky tasks.

9. Early morning space.
This is all about having the TIME in the morning to set your intentions for the day. A rushed morning ends up with no such thing, and sometimes a super rushed morning leaves you feeling flustered for the whole day - you never recover! So, what do you need to do to create some morning space? Prepare the kids lunches the night before? Get up an hour earlier? Teach the kids to perform one of your morning tasks? I've long learnt that a rushed morning reeks havoc with my energy so for me it's always the same. Up at 6.00am for a morning meditation, followed by an hour walk with Wilson and a relaxed breakfast with a cuppa before hitting my desk at 9am (rarely before). And again, apologies to the parents without such flexibility. 

10. End of day ritual.
Repeatedly signalling the end of the day with a certain activity can prompt your body into relax mode. A bath, a book, a cup of tea, whatever you need; try thinking about creating a repetitive ritual that is easy enough to incorporate into your day. My end of day activity is a 30 minute walk with Wilson, always before dark, typically around 5pm. Post walk there is never any work on the agenda, and that's that! 

What else should we add to our list? Share any tips you have and we'll update the list as we go. 

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August 14 2015

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