The Importance of Putting Yourself First

Posted by on Jun 8, 2016 in Blog, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Hello everyone!

After a little break following the Essentials for Everyday Life series, I’m back at it with a mini-series about taking care of yourself. With all of the great opportunities that summer brings, it’s an excellent time to take care of yourself and even re-invent yourself. You’re no good to anyone else if you’re not good to yourself!

Enjoy!

Jen

 

Elements for Taking Care of Yourself

The Importance of Putting Yourself First

 

The world has become such a fast-paced place that we oftentimes find ourselves so busy and so wrapped up in school, work, activities, family and friends that life passes us by and in doing so, we exhaust ourselves and burn ourselves out. I can tell you from personal experience that when this happens you no longer enjoy things you once loved and you will find yourself feeling pretty miserable – literally.

I was once in a job that I absolutely loved. What was once my dream job was waiting for me when I graduated from college. It allowed me to work with my passion of music, to be creative, to work with a team of others and to be a part of helping someone else achieve success and their dreams. I was excited about my job every day, even the days that things didn’t go how you wanted them to.

I loved getting to know and working with my clients and the rest of their team. I was dedicated to doing everything possible to make them happen and to achieve their goals. To this day I still miss them. But, I was a little too dedicated and loved what I did too much that I wasn’t putting myself first. And in the end, it took a toll on me.

I found myself constantly thinking about work. I was constantly checking my email from my phone when I was away from my home office and at all hours of the evening until late at night. What if my boss or clients needed something? I wanted to be there for them. I found myself working all day and all evening, well more than I was salaried for, because I wanted to make sure everything was being done for my clients, that I was finding every opportunity for them, that I ensured every email was promptly responded to, and was even picking up the slack for others. My brain couldn’t turn off. It was constantly running and thinking about work and my clients. I couldn’t sleep.

Towards my last couple of years in this position I found myself constantly stressed out, which was completely unusual for me. I enjoyed what I did so much and was so dedicated to my clients that I was putting me last. I was burning the candle at both ends and eventually found myself constantly getting sick. And when I was sick I wasn’t at my best. That just made things harder and I went farther down the spiral. I was making decent money, but couldn’t enjoy the life it provided because I was either wrapped up in work or I was sick.

I eventually realized that no matter how much I loved what I did and no matter how much I was making, it wasn’t worth the stress. Deep down I really wasn’t actually enjoying it and the kind of life I could have had. I wasn’t good for anyone the way I had become and certainly not for myself. As much as it broke my heart, I had to not only leave my job but the entire industry.

For the first time in five years, I put myself first. And what an interesting concept that is. I began working on me and getting myself back. That was definitely hard. I had to unlearn a lot of bad habits. I had to learn everything that caused me stress and how to let go of all of those things. Some of the biggest things I had to teach myself were 1) that I didn’t have to do everything myself and that delegations were a good thing, 2) accepting that others may not do things how I would and that’s ok, and 3) I don’t have to be an overachiever and a perfectionist, because I can and will still be successful in whatever I do. And ultimately I had to simply let go and accept that some things just don’t matter, especially when they don’t directly affect you. Basically I had to learn just to not care about everything. That was a big one.

Once I identified these things I had to learn to destress and relax, and how to turn off my brain so that I could relax and rest. It ultimately meant truly putting myself first.

First I had to learn to disconnect from the digital world. No work email after typical business hours. No constantly checking my other email, messages and texts. No phone or computer an hour before bed. I cannot tell you how much putting limits on the digital world does for you and being able to unwind and rest. I learned what it felt like to fall asleep and stay asleep again! To be fair, I do have to admit that I have slipped back into some of those habits… but, I am so much better at not letting it control me! I now can manage it in a healthy way.

Then it was a matter of rediscovering myself. I explored other things I was interested in. I learned the kinds of people I enjoy being around. I went out and did things I enjoyed. I found solitude in just going for a walk or sitting outside somewhere peaceful. I took chances and tried new opportunities. Through all of this I discovered the kind of person I really am, what my passions actually are, what I really enjoy doing, what my real goals and aspirations in life are, and what’s truly important to me and warms my heart. Once you go through this journey, nothing else matters. You’re able to let go of everything you once knew – or thought you knew.

I cannot tell you how good it feels to rediscover yourself. It’s a huge weight being lifted off of your shoulders. You feel like you can do anything. You feel free. And for me personally, I gradually became the healthiest, happiest and most energetic I have ever been.

When you’re weighed down, stressed out, frustrated, tired, exhausted, crabby, unhappy, sick, etc., all the time you’re just no good. You’re no good for things you need to do for school, work or other commitments, for others who depend and count on you for any reason, and most importantly, for yourself. You always have to come first. I know that’s hard and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in things, but you will only pay for it in the longrun. Make yourself number one so you’re happy, energetic, relaxed, and feeling free and on top of the world!

In my next two blogs I will go into more detail about things you can do to make sure you’re a priority, at you’re best, taking care of yourself and happily living the good life!

 

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