‘Put myself first’ is not a selfish thought

This original article by Helen Mitas was previously published on Woman With Drive
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If you are like most women, you probably start each day with a long list of tasks. The majority of those tasks involve fulfilling other people’s needs and demands while yours languish at the very bottom. But why do we constantly push ourselves down our own list? Will everyone else’s lives collapse if we begin putting ourselves first?

One of my clients, Kathy, has a senior role in a major bank. She came to see me because she was overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted with juggling the demands of her domestic and professional lives.

After an exhausting day at the office, she was expected to prepare dinner for her spouse and adult children as well as tackle all the household chores. She never asked anyone for help and no one thought to offer. Kathy had single-handedly created this millstone around her neck.

I helped her see that there was no reason for her to shoulder all the domestic responsibilities when she lived with other very capable adults. It was initially very difficult for her to admit she needed help and to agree to relinquish her tasks to others but she eventually did.

From then on, Kathy’s energy levels and outlook on life dramatically improved. And that is just one of the many benefits of putting yourself first in your life. Here are the others.

  1. You will be more efficient at work. A big part of putting yourself first is ensuring you eat properly and get enough rest. This will do wonders for your productivity, energy, clarity and creativity.
  2. You will be better able to help others. It is impossible to take care of others when you suffer from poor health in the forms of burnout and high stress levels.
  3. You will live a longer, healthier life. We know that healthy habits lead to a longer, healthier life yet many of us continue ignoring this. We must learn to balance our goals with self-care so that we will be around long enough to enjoy the fruits of our labour.
  4. You will be happier. Putting yourself first also means partaking in small indulgences like a weekend retreat or even turning down a request because you want to spend time unwinding. These things are essential to your wellbeing and managing them effectively will result in greater overall satisfaction and more happiness.

So start practising putting yourself first without the pang of guilt. You will find that it is only by doing so that we can truly give the people we love the best of ourselves.

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