I was working with a coaching client over the weekend when she came to an enormous epiphany: she was putting everyone and everything ahead of her own well-being. We all do it occasionally, some of us more than others. It’s high time you put yourself first for a change.

Selfish vs. Self-Care

Many of us (especially women) are natural-born caregivers. The problem is that we get so good at caring for others we don’t leave any room for ourselves.

During the early years of my relationship with Glenn, I became his caregiver as he worked on sobriety and getting the proper medication for his bipolar disorder. It wasn’t until I started getting sick that I realized how depleted I was. Without knowing it, I began to resent him because I put him and our relationship ahead of my health and well-being.

We are taught that putting ourselves first means being selfish. They say to put on your own oxygen mask first for a reason. We cannot help others or be any good to anyone without being strong and healthy ourselves. We should all be a bit more selfish.

If you have ever engaged in long-term caregiving, you know how challenging it can be to take breaks for yourself and sit, enjoy a cup of coffee, or take a nap when you’re tired.

Putting yourself first is essential, and it’s not selfish; it’s just good self-care.

What is More Important Than Your Well-Being?

It’s easy to rationalize why we put off getting into shape, eating well, and taking time off when needed. There are always things to do and people who need us. But how long will you wait before you start taking care of yourself? Don’t wait until you are emotionally distraught or physically ill.

Is anything really worth sacrificing your health and happiness?

If you step back, you may see that nothing is more important than focusing on your needs and wants. I am not saying forget about everyone else, but prioritize you for a change.

How to Put Yourself First

Putting yourself first may seem foreign to you, but you will improve over time. Some ways to put yourself first include:

  • Set a boundary and say “no” rather than helping someone or showing up at another social gathering.
  • Take a rest when you need it.
  • Treat yourself to something nice, like a cup of hot cocoa, a tasty coffee drink, or something else you enjoy.
  • Don’t compromise and fight for what you want.
  • Ask for that promotion.
  • Work out a schedule with your significant other so you both have some free “me time.”
  • Commit to a set schedule where you spend time on yourself every day.
  • Start that self-improvement journey and dig in deep.
  • Indulge in something fun every day.
  • Invest in getting the healing help you need.

I spent most of my life taking care of others and ignoring myself, and my body let me know it with disease, ailments, and other issues. Now, I put myself first whenever possible because I need to be strong before I can help anyone else.

Do yourself a favor; put yourself first. Don’t wait, do it now!

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