5 Ways to Prioritize Yourself
Life is busy. There is no sugar coating this simple fact. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO, entrepreneur, influencer, parent, house cleaner, or student. If you are over the age of five, the hours in the day are a precious commodity that get filled way too quickly. With responsibilities always on the rise, it is very easy to meet obligations head on, check off that to-do list, and begin to neglect ourselves. While “me time” and buzz words like self-care have become synonymous with pampering, modern spirituality, and femininity, these are dangerous generalizations. The old saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” has no qualifiers. This is a truth for all humans at all ages, and it is why prioritizing time for yourself is crucial to your success, health, productivity, and mental state.
That all sounds well and good, but when it comes to finishing the project on time, getting the kids to their after school activities, grocery shopping, paying bills, and the other one million high level priorities in a day, how on earth do you set time aside for yourself?
That is misconception number one. Prioritizing yourself and fundamental self-care doesn’t necessarily mean you need another hour in your already packed day. Here are five ways you can give yourself the pick-me-up you need without taxing your schedule.
#1 Fill Yourself Up Mentally and Emotionally
What is it that you love, crave to know, and enjoy listening to? Is it a criminal minds podcast? Soothing music? The latest R&B track? A guided meditation? Audio books? We can treat ourselves mentally and emotionally by choosing those moments in our day that don’t require our full attention to give ourselves a little love. If you are doing house work, sitting on the bus or stuck in traffic, eating in the break room or breakfast before the house is awake, going to bed fifteen minutes early, and so on. Where do you have a mentally free moment in the day to yourself an auditory bit of pampering? A personal favorite is music or a podcast when getting ready in the mornings!
#2 Fill Yourself Up Verbally
You’ve probably heard that what you say matters. Well, it does. If you are constantly berating yourself for not getting everything done, for making mistakes, for not being perfect, you are effectively tearing down your own confidence and willpower. A simple way to fill up the proverbial cup is to consciously choose words that lift you up. If you do a good job, tell yourself! Use actual words to remind yourself that you are incredible, capable, strong, powerful, a master at what you do, and whatever else you need to hear. We can’t always rely on others to give us the validation and credit that we need to feel proud of what we do. If you’re not there yet, that’s ok. Start by cutting out the negative self-talk first. Then work up to giving yourself the verbal boost you need.
#3 Food is Medicine and Self-Care
Choosing to give yourself a diet filled with healthy foods, plant based choices, high protein snacks, and intentional eating is an enormous act of self-care. Prioritizing your diet is telling yourself that you matter, your body, mind, and health matter. This is a key to self-care that is often overlooked and so easy to include. You are already eating, so eat better. Give yourself the nutrition your body needs to be strong and ready to take on life’s challenges. This doesn’t have to take a lot of extra time. It simply needs a shift in how you think and a direct focus on what you are putting in your mouth.
While going to the gym or setting aside a minimum of 150 minutes a week to exercise is ideal, it is not the only form of physical self-care. Sometimes fitting in that daily workout seems like an act of fate, but it doesn’t have to be. Choosing to move more shows that you are thinking about yourself. You are making a decision to take care of your body, muscles, bones, and health. This can be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cutting your lunch break in half to do a simple calisthenics routine or 20 minute HIIT in the park or parking lot, or getting a standing desk or yoga ball as a chair. Look up workouts you can do at your desk or get up ten minutes earlier to do a quick Tabata routine before getting in the shower. Any movement you can add to your day is one more way of burning some extra calories and showing your body a little love.
#5 Give Yourself Some Shut Eye
Lastly, this one does take some time, but it will give you time back! Ensuring you are getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night will help keep your mind and body running strong. Working or even going through life while you’re tired makes you prone to errors, operating at a slower pace, and missing out on crucial mental clarity to perform better. A lack of sleep literally robs time from your day, so getting the needed amount of sleep gives you that time back. You will work faster, more efficiently, with less mistakes, and with more creativity. This will let you get more done in less time.
These are five ways to prioritize yourself and slip in some self-care each and every day. If you do find you have some extra time here and there, be ready to give yourself what you need. This might be some down time to read a book, meditate, or take a nap. Or you might have some extra energy to squeeze in a proper workout or go hang out with some friends.
Our last and final tip for really learning to prioritize yourself is deciding that you are a priority. When we value something, we set time aside to do it. So take a look at your calendar and find those extra hours. It doesn’t need to be every day, but try to aim for at least three times a week. Then schedule it! It can be going to a movie, hitting the gym, taking an afternoon to meal prep, planning that yoga retreat, getting a massage, or going for a hike. Whatever refuels your mind, body, and soul, find some time to do it and then commit to that time in your schedule. You will thank yourself later.