Have you prioritized yourself recently?
Think about the last time you may have said no to plans because you needed more rest or felt stressed that you took a day to do things that helped you recharge. When was the last time you did that? I ask myself this often whenever I feel unmotivated, exhausted, and unable to balance the different parts of my life.
I used to be someone who struggled with making myself a priority. I often cared about filling the cup of others rather than my own. There have been times when I used to feel criticized for not attending a get-together last minute or for deciding to run errands over going out for drinks on a Saturday night.
There had been a point where I was so fearful of saying no to others that I would fill my schedule with things to do with people I loved and cared about but leave time for myself out of the equation. I was doing this on top of my graduate school and work schedule. It would catch up to me, and I would feel the burnout. It impacted my mood, my motivation, and my spirit. It wasn’t a healthy cycle and ultimately was only doing more harm to my mental health. I knew there needed to be a change.
In the last few months of 2021, I promised myself that I was going to embark on a journey to prioritize myself and focus on doing things for myself often. It wasn’t going to happen overnight, but I knew that I would become more content with being alone over time. Fast forward to today, I’ve seen a shift in my mental health tremendously and have found moments of peace when I get to prioritize my well-being.
I spent time reflecting, and I’ve identified three things that have been the core of my journey. These ideas are an excellent place to start if you’re struggling with prioritizing yourself but want to ease into making changes to reach your fullest potential. That way, you can feel good and feel that you have a hold on your life again.
Using a Gratitude Journal: I love using the 5 Minute Journal to start and end my day. It guides you to reflect on what you’re grateful for, what you want to accomplish for the day and asks you to write one positive affirmation. At the end of your day, you reflect on what you accomplished and one thing that would have made the day better. I like this format because it allows me to self-reflect and decide on things I want to do for myself and not necessarily for others. It also pushes me to recognize what I did do for the day. I like to reflect on if the things I did do during the day left me in a good headspace at the end of the day, and if they didn’t, I think of how to make it better for tomorrow.
One Feel Good Activity Everyday: I made a rule that I must do one thing each day that fulfills my needs and makes me feel good. Some examples are taking a long walk, watching an episode of my favorite show, or even treating myself to a good meal. Doing this during the week allows me not to feel like I’ve been putting others before myself too often. It also doesn’t need to take up so much of your time.
Saying “No” Once a Month: I don’t mean necessarily saying no to a plan you’ve been looking forward to for weeks when I say this. I’m saying you should pick a day where you simply say no to being around others and just being with yourself. I usually prefer a weekend where I don’t make any plans and just do things I want. If anyone asks me to do something that weekend, I always say no because I have already set plans with myself. Doing this has given me the courage to be more comfortable with saying no. The end goal of doing this is to feel confident in saying no more regularly in my life and not just during a set time each month. For example, if someone wants to meet me after work, I can self-assess if it will be best for me and choose to say no without fear.
While the journey to putting yourself first is always a battle, I believe that we begin to truly grow comfortable with ourselves over time. We learn to love the quiet moments and the boost of energy we get from fueling our desires. The relationship we always need to work on is the one we have with ourselves.
It’s always a work in progress, and we can’t be present for others if we’re not present for ourselves. No matter what your life may throw at you, try to remember your first priority is always you.
It’s not selfish; it’s self-love.
Shanice Peters is a Brooklyn native and a writer who enjoys inspiring others by sharing her vulnerable experiences and journey to self-love. She is currently finishing her MSW at Fordham University where she hopes to use her social work skills to help others reach their full potential. In her free time, she loves to cook, talk about all things beauty and fashion and enjoys exploring new places.Comment, share with a friend, and subscribe. Thank you warriors and Shanice for contributing to my blog xoxo keep making boss moves babe <3
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