In 2015 Working Mother magazine released its second Women’s Healthcare Innovation and Leadership Showcase, which showed how the women surveyed ranked taking care of themselves and others.
As you might imagine, women ranked taking care of their children as their #1 priority. Number two was pets, number three was elder relatives, number four was their partner/spouse and number five was themselves.
Yes, last on the list of who women take care of was themselves.
Is this a problem? I say it is.
While it is extremely important to take care of others, as women, we must place the highest value on taking care of ourselves first. Only when we place our spiritual, physical and emotional needs first can we truly take care of others in the best way possible.
How can we begin to do this? Where do we even start? Try these tips:
Change your mindset
First, you need to change your mindset. Most likely you believe putting yourself first is a selfish or arrogant decision. This is not the case. Putting yourself first means you are putting your health at the top of the list and when YOU are healthiest (in all realms) you are best able to care for others.
Get back to your passion
If you’re not sure how to identify something to do in order to put yourself first, think back on your passions. Perhaps even make a list in your journal about things you were once passionate about. It may be a long time since you’ve taken the time to partake in an activity you’re passionate about – like painting, singing, crafting, etc. Try not to look at taking time to do so as “indulging” (it’s not!) but as re-charging your life-batteries so you can then take care of others with a more authentic and fulfilled version of yourself.
Cherish your body
Cherishing your body is such an important way of taking care of yourself! Again, this is not indulgent, but a way to take care of you so you can better takes care of others! Take time to go for a walk or take a yoga class or treat yourself to a long overdue massage or pedicure. Such activities will give you a sense of relaxation and renewal so you can better care for others around you.
Spend time with friends
Spending time with friends is often something that gets put at the bottom of the “to do” list during our busy lives. Who has time to go out for lunch with a girlfriend when there’s a house to be cleaned, doctors’ appointments to bring family members to and bills to be paid? You do! It is so important to give yourself permission to take a break from the business of life and spend time with friends. Friends remind us of who we are. They make us laugh, they make us remember, they make our hearts sing and they remind us that we are individuals first and foremost.
Let go of the guilt
No matter how you decide to try putting yourself first, please – above all – let go of the guilt. There is nothing wrong with exalting yourself. You are an excellent caregiver to others, but to remain so you need to also show great love and care to yourself.
Need a speaker who moves the audience to action? Check out DeLores Pressley’s keynotes and presentations. Discover why OPRAH, Kellogg, Roche, Coca-Cola, and Women’s Associations have DeLores speak on their platforms. Contact Vickie@DeLoresPressley.com to inquire about her inspiring, engaging and interactive presentations that move people to success.