Simple to say, harder to do – as so many important things in life are.
This one is so simple, but it’s SO important. You cannot heal until you prioritize yourself. The idea of putting yourself first doesn’t sound appealing to many people; there’s a stigma of selfishness around it. However, it’s actually one of the least selfish things you can do.
If you knew how much better you could care for others and be of service, if you took care of yourself first, you would be amazed. (If you’re in the minority of those who already are there, awesome – go you!)
Most of the patients I see benefit when they start to put themselves first – whether it’s taking the time to prepare breakfast for themselves along with the food they make for their kids, getting home an hour later every other weekday so that they can fit in a workout, or altering their grocery store shopping habits to include more nutritious choices. Or so much more. There are literally thousands of things you can do to prioritize yourself.
It’s common to see people struggle with healthy changes when they are unwilling to try putting themselves first. The unwillingness to change is a HUGE hurdle to clear, and it requires the person to realize they need to change and feel called to do so – no one else can do the daily “work” of habit changing for them. For many of us, it can take a significant stress or dramatic change in our lives to make us realize that we need to change. This has been the case for me, more than once, and as challenging as it was, it is always worth it. I’ve learned that we often have a deeper appreciation for things in retrospect.
Again, prioritizing ourselves isn’t second nature. It’s hard, with the daily stuff that makes up our lives – kids’ practices, work meetings, deadlines, bills – I get it. This is where the beauty comes in – you make yourself shift to self-care mode, and you understand how much more you can give from that place. Leaning into this idea, it gradually becomes easier. Small steps, over time, make a difference.
Choose 1 day of the week, and block out 1 hour of that day. That’s your time. Choose something that will make you feel better – a therapeutic massage, sitting by the window with a good book and a cup of tea, baking paleo muffins just for you (and maybe to share with a few lucky people), taking a cake-decorating class, busting out your old guitar and relearning the chords…choose something that speaks to you.
Repeat for 1 month. Then add 1 hour of another day. As you do, you will likely find the times and scheduling that helps with your flow more. Over time, it becomes more natural.
Another good place to start:
Exercise. Choose 3 times per week that will be your running / walking / yoga / dancing-in-the-living-room schedule.
This time is appointments with yourself – treat it as if you had an appointment with someone else, and you will be more likely to stick to it. You wouldn’t stand up your dentist or your best friend, would you?
And on that note: healthcare is an important part of self-care. If you haven’t had an annual checkup, get thee to your doctor’s office; your naturopathic doctor is a great part of your care team and can be an asset as you work towards greater wellbeing.
Cheers to YOU. Now schedule your first self-care time block 🙂
May you be well!
The information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice or to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor with specific questions and prior to beginning any significant diet or lifestyle changes.