If you really take a look at your life from an outsider’s perspective, can you honestly say you're taking care of yourself and leading a healthy lifestyle? Most people would say no, because they're constantly working, raising kids and trying to keep up with all that they feel is expected of them.
Putting yourself last on the list sets you up for failure in the long run. I hear people every day tell me they're too busy to cook at home or to schedule daily exercise. Taking time for yourself is crucial and shouldn’t be looked down upon. While taking care of my mom through breast cancer treatments, I would often feel guilty just thinking about doing something for myself. But I found that if I didn’t take care of me, then my role as a caregiver was that much harder.
Here are 10 tips to help you focus on yourself so you're happy and healthy for those around you.
1. Break up with stress.
Stress is a leading cause of illness and disease. When you run your body on empty, it can only go so long before it shuts down on you. Find what calms you down in this chaotic world and focus on that.
2. Don’t be afraid to say no.
Pick and choose things that are truly meaningful to you and your life. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, just say no. You don’t need to apologize; politely decline and free up some precious time for yourself.
3. Stop being a people pleaser.
You can't be everything for everyone without losing your true identity along the way. When I try to be "normal" or someone I'm not, I find it very difficult. I love being quirky and no longer try to hide it. Be yourself and those that really matter will stick around and ride the roller coaster of life with you.
4. Avoid negativity.
It’s not always possible, especially in a business setting, but try to stay away from other people’s drama. When you're constantly surrounded by negative people, it's sure to bring you down. Choose to be around those who make you feel appreciated and loved in a healthy way.
5. Don’t talk badly about yourself.
Negative self-talk, whether intentional or not, will eventually lead your mind to believe you're not worthy. Love yourself fully and accept who you are. Every day we grow as individuals and each morning is a new day to start fresh.
6. Slow down.
When was the last time you made a meal and sat around the table with your family with no time constraints? If you cannot remember, then it has been too long. Give thanks before your meal and savor each bite and the company that you are sharing your meal with.
7. Find daily time just for yourself.
Take time out each day to meditate, do yoga, take a relaxing bath or read a magazine. Taking 20 minutes just for yourself each day can really help you recharge and be in better spirits for those around you. Learning to be alone and enjoy your own company is crucial.
8. Focus on the good.
Positive thoughts generate positive feelings. Negative thoughts do exactly the opposite. Try not to sweat the small stuff and focus more on your blessings. If you have a hard time with this, keep a gratitude journal and write down 3-5 things daily that you're thankful for.
9. Say how you feel.
If someone says something that hurt you, speak up. You might be surprised to find that they had no idea you felt that way and possibly they were misunderstood. This works the opposite way as well. Tell people that you love them, smile to strangers and hold the door open for others. Spreading kindness is something that will come back to you in many ways. Be the reason someone smiles today.
10. Don’t give up on your dreams.
If someone in your life is keeping you from doing what you're passionate about, try to find a way to keep those dreams alive. If it's something that can't be done at this moment, start planning for how you can fulfill your dream in the future. You don’t want to leave this life wondering how things could have been different if you had only followed your heart.
Love yourself and surround yourself with those who love you back. And never feel guilty for taking care of yourself, because you deserve it.