How many of you find yourselves working late nights, stressing about work, pulling your hair out and NOT putting yourself first? Unfortunately, a lot of us fall into this category. Do you really think, that when push comes to shove, that your company or job is going to prioritize your health or wellness over what is best for the company? Absolutely not. Nobody else is as invested in your overall health and wellbeing, so why not put yourself first. I see people constantly that work themselves to death. And by death, I mean high blood pressure, obesity, constantly elevated cortisol levels, and so on. It is almost a badge of honor to be able to say, “I worked 60 hours last week”. At what point did our society start thinking that this behavior was honorable or acceptable? Why is it that we prioritize everything but health?
So, how do you put yourself first? I will admit, it is easier said than done. There are many small daily habits that can steer you in the right direction though. Having boundaries, keeping a schedule, and being aware of your needs are 3 great places to start.
I have talked about boundaries before, but when it comes to balance, this can be key. Many of you are working from home now, so set a hard end-time to your day. You would not stay at the office until 8pm working, so why would you do it at home? Pick a time that reasonably allows you to get your work done during the day but gives you time to do the things you need to do after work. Also, do not forget to take a lunch break. In or out of the office, your brain needs a break. Yes, I know, you could work through lunch and get so much done, but at what cost? It adds up over time, so make yourself take a quick break. Go for a walk, do some stretches, or actually eat your lunch. Doing this will make you much more productive after your break too!
Keeping a schedule can also be beneficial. Just remember that sometimes the day does not go as planned, so do not stress about it if your schedule falls apart. If you struggle finding time to workout or cooking during the week, do not forget to schedule these things in. Sometimes scheduling a couple hours of meal prep on a Sunday can make your week go that much smoother. If you have a job where meetings get scheduled in, be sure to block those times off in your calendar, and do not feel bad for doing it! Make sure that you do not over schedule yourself either. I find that if I put too many things on my schedule it will have the opposite effect on me, and I will be less productive. So, find that sweet spot that works for you.
Lastly, be aware of your needs. When you are setting boundaries and making your weekly schedule, make sure that you are prioritizing yourself and your needs while you are doing this. Just like it is acceptable to leave work to go pick your kids up, it is acceptable to leave work to get in your daily workout. Do not let anybody else make you think otherwise. Make sure that your schedule includes the things that keep you healthy and happy, and make sure that some of your boundaries are set up to promote your health and wellbeing.
Putting yourself first can be hard, and it can be an adjustment for some. Do not for a second think that putting yourself first makes you selfish… it makes you smart. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so take the time to keep yours full. If you are stressed all the time, sleeping poorly, eating poorly, and not taking the time to exercise, you definitely are not able to give the things in your life 100%- be it work or home life. Taking time and putting yourself first will help you be the best version of yourself that you can be, so that you can give 100% to the things in your life.
Give it a try sometime!