We frequently hear the question of what’s the way to someone else’s heart, but we seldom run into the idea of what makes our own hearts skip a beat? What are some of the things that make us feel loved, taken care of, and made a priority, without hesitation? We’re breaking down 10 ways for you to put yourself first — the bonus is you’ll have more of yourself to give, once you do have to interact with other people!
1 | TAKE SOME MUCH-NEEDED ‘ME TIME’. When is the last time you took a moment to listen to your own thoughts, pay attention to your mind, body, and spirit, and listen to and focus on your dreams and goals? ‘Me time’ can look a number of ways — from a spa day or reading a good book on the couch to going for a drive and running or solo yoga in the park!
2 | JUST SAY NO. It’s okay to say no to things — things you don’t have extra time for, things you are doing just to satisfy others, things that you simply don’t want to do, or for any other reason! Put yourself first when you are on the cusp of saying yes to just one more thing. When you say yes to any and everything, you tend to deplete yourself of the time it takes to maintain your own R&R. When you are constantly and consistently giving all of your energy to others, you’re making yourself the last priority. That needs to change!
3 | VOLUNTEER FOR A CAUSE. When you give your time to others who are making a difference in a way that is meaningful to you, your loved ones, your community, and the world, you are, in a sense, putting yourself first. The trickle-down effect of selflessly giving back is multiplied.
4 | MEAL PREP. It’s all the rage — prepping your meals for the week, in advance. And why shouldn’t it be? It means you get to put aside time to focus on what you’ll be eating for the next 5-7 days, concentrating on the ingredients, and making sure the taste is just right for an enjoyable week of flavorful eats! If that’s not putting yourself first, we don’t know what is!
5 | LEARN SOMETHING NEW. When’s the last time you took the time to better yourself and learn something new? What are some of the things you wish you knew how to do, but have never set aside the time to explore them? Have you ever thought about learning a new sport or activity? Have you thought about what it would be like to perfect your tennis serve? How about learning the correct form when you are on a run? Whether physical or mental (learning a new language!), there are so many available resources for us, and so zero excuses when it comes to bettering ourselves.
6 | TALK IT OUT. Another way to put yourself first, is to take care of your mental health and wellbeing. In a busy world, we tend to hold in our stress, ignoring the idea that they can easily pile up and snowball into something bigger. Whether a BFF or therapist, doesn’t it feel good when you release your thoughts, worries, and unproductive thoughts to someone who has only the best feedback?
7 | ON THE MONEY. Your financial health is also an important part of putting yourself first. Sure, lots of people find it a humdrum topic, but when it comes to your future (and security), being financially literate, and preparing your future, beyond just a couple of years, is one of the best things you can do in putting yourself first. Take some time to sit quietly and go over the ABCs of everything from personal finance to retirement funds, investments to multiple streams of income, and everything in-between. Your future self will thank you!
8 | LAUGH. They say laughter is the best medicine — we say it’s preventative! Why wait for a stubborn cough or cold to start laughing — is that even a thing? It’s time to lighten up and find the positive, feel-good, and humor in everyday things. It seems like a win-win when you can both laugh AND release beneficial endorphins!
9 | FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH. We recently mentioned the importance of proper breathing in a recent Ellie blog. Another idea for our suggestion of ‘me time’, you can always take some quiet time to focus on your breathing — is it shallow or rushed, or are you filling your lungs with much-needed air? Hitting the studio for a guided meditation or yoga class could really do your body — and mind — some real good!
10 | MAKE IT A POINT! One of the simplest ways to put yourself first and make yourself a priority is just to DO IT! When you set an intention for yourself, and follow the ideas outlined above, there’s no reason to find excuses for putting yourself and your own needs on the backburner! In the same way you out others and their needs before your own, make the person you’re answering to — yourself — the one you are trying not to let down. Give yourself permission to honor and protect yourself by being good to your #1 priority — YOU!