The commitment I’m making to me
Self-care is literally one of my favorite things. I love saying no. I love doing things for myself for no real reason because at the end of the day I know that I cannot fully give myself to others if I am not full with myself.
but I wasn’t always like this.
I used to be a really good people pleaser. ‘No’ was not a word I used often. I grew up with the belief that you should do things for others because it’s what makes people “nice”. I would spend most of my spare time doing things for others because I assumed it was the right thing to do. On top of that, I felt guilty for saying no to people I cared about. Now that I’ve experienced the other side of things (#teamselfcare), I've realized that no matter whether I choose to ‘people please’ or not, people still know that I care about them. I’ve learned to ask myself "do I really need to go above and beyond for this person, at this very moment, or can I save my energy on them for another time?" The truth is, people will act the same regardless of what you choose to do.
Now before you think I’m being a mean girl, let’s be clear that I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do nice things for others. You can do lots of nice things for others if it’s something you want to do, not something you feel like you ‘should’ do. There’s a huge difference. Doing something for yourself that makes someone else happy is completely different from doing something that goes against your needs and priorities for the happiness of someone else.
So at the age of 27, I’ve totally accepted that it’s okay to be selfish.
Selfish is not a negative word. Being selfish, in a way that doesn’t take away from others, is crucial to self-care and happiness. One of the purposes of this blog is to encourage women to cultivate happiness, to bring awareness to the fact that being selfish is OKAY, and to remind you that taking care of yourself is of utmost importance. If you’re a ‘people pleaser’ like I was, constantly putting others before you, spending your spare time doing things you didn’t want to do, but felt like you should do, then it’s time to make some changes! I’m sharing a few ways that I’ve committed to caring for myself, first.
Sleep in and don’t set an alarm
Getting enough sleep is a well-known health tip. Turn off your alarm and phone as soon as you go to bed. Let yourself wake up when you want to wake up. I am constantly waking up in the early morning with thoughts, ideas, worries, and God-knows what else flowing through my mind, but now, instead of getting up before it’s light out and trying to address all those things, I shut it all off and go back to sleep for a few more hours - knowing that those thoughts will still be there when I wake up again, but atleast I will be more rested and ready to tackle them. Sleep is essential to self-care. Let yourself sleep in when your body needs it most.
Stop immediately responding to e-mails and texts
I used to LOVE getting mail when I was younger. I mean, honestly, who didn’t? When I started college, I loved getting e-mails just as much because it made me feel like I was someone important (although, looking back now I’m not sure what I was thinking). I would open and return e-mails and texts within minutes of receiving them. It was never an inconvenience; it was just something I thought everyone did. I used to wonder how some people could have inboxes with thousands of unread emails (I still shudder at the thought of that), but only now I realize how amazing that actually is. Okay, 1,000 emails might pushing it...but here’s my point. Responding to an email or text right away is one of the easiest ways to put someone else’s needs before your own. Rather than opening that email that you just know is a request from someone and responding right away, wait until you are ready to open it. Finish doing whatever it is you are currently doing and respond when you have time to.
Color code your schedule
This sounds crazy, but one of the easiest ways to know if you have a good work/life balance is to see it visually - and all you need are different colored pens. I color-code my planner by schoolwork (blue), blog and other to-do’s (green), self-care (pink), and spending time with friends and family (orange) so I can see what I am spending a lot of time on and what I need to focus more or less on. If notice that the majority of my calendar is blue and green then I fill in empty spaces with pink, even if it’s something that only takes two minutes such as gratitude journaling. The amount of time spent on self-care doesn’t need to match the time spent on work. What counts is the fact that you made time for it.
Put your priorities first, no matter the situation
I used to think birthdays, holiday parties, weddings, and all the ‘showers’ that go along with getting older were events that you had to go to if you were invited. I mean, these moments are pretty special so to not go would mean that you didn’t care enough for that person, right? So wrong! When I first became aware of how necessary it was to put my priorities and needs first, I used ‘no, I can’t make it’ it as often as I needed. But when it came time to say no to these “more important” events, I couldn’t do it. I’m not sure why we assume this, but I felt like saying no was rude and somewhat disrespectful. I would force myself to go support someone, even in times when I was completely burnt out. What I’ve now learned is that you are allowed to put your own priorities first, no matter the situation. That’s not to say you should quit your social life and become a homebody (I mean, who doesn’t love a good wedding reception), but just know that self-care includes saying no to things you go to only because you feel like you have to.
Everything starting to click? Lastly...
Remember that you deserve happiness
You are a reflection of how you treat yourself. You can’t wait around for someone else to bring self-care to you. You must seek it and make time for it yourself. You are amazing and deserve to be happy - tell yourself this daily! Write it down 10x, post it on your bathroom mirror, make it your iPhone wallpaper - do whatever you need to do to not forget it!
Happiness is not something you achieve. It is a constant way of living that starts with a commitment to yourself.
Are you someone who is constantly people-pleasing? I’d love to hear how you are choosing to make the switch to putting yourself first! Leave a comment below.