With many of us today juggling so many responsibilities and commitments in the busy pace of day to day life, it can be a challenge to even find 5 minutes for ourselves! The demands of our jobs, families and businesses often take first priority, meaning we neglect to take a step back and think about catering to our own needs.
Or, even if we don’t have some of these commitments, we might consciously or subconsciously berate ourselves for not having what we believe we should - the family, the high-flying job, the thriving bank account and the flourishing business. Even though we have a little more time, we’re still not making ourselves a priority because of this negative self-talk.
If either of these scenarios resonate with you in some way, today I’m going to share with you why it’s so important to make yourself a priority, how to focus on yourself and how this actually enables you to be a better parent, caregiver, employee or business owner.
Think about it; if you’re burnt out, constantly seeing to other people, are stressed and generally overloaded, you’re running beyond capacity and the chances are you’re unable to live in true alignment and in the authentic expression of yourself. When operating from this place of auto-pilot, you’re not able to be your best self to those other people and commitments because you’re neglecting to take the time to reconnect to yourself and your heart. This is the essence of what self-love is about. I share more about the idea of long-term self-care in this YouTube video, which I highly recommend you take a look at.
And I understand, for many of us, self-love might feel like something that’s indulgent, selfish, a luxury or only reserved for those rare times out of our schedule such as when on vacation or going to the hairdressers! The truth is, self-love is far deeper, more nuanced, the least selfish thing you can do and something that is crucial to practice on a day to day basis. This is because it enables us to tap back in to the core of who we are. To make yourself a priority doesn’t mean being indulgent or something to feel guilty for and it also doesn’t mean abandoning the needs of others or your job. It means giving yourself the gift of living to your true potential and therefore showing up for the people and responsibilities in your life being fully present and with energy to do what needs to be done.
So with so much going on, how does one find the time to take that step back? How to focus on yourself when there seems to be a never-ending stream of demands? You have to learn how to say no and to not feel guilty for doing so. Whilst there are commitments in your life that have to be attended to, there are probably many things that you could say no to. Whether that’s helping a friend move, regularly staying late at work or being the one in your family who always seems to have to step up to sort things out. You can say no to these things and it will benefit you in so many ways if you do.
I understand how guilt can creep in. However, this is about learning to set boundaries which is the ultimate expression of self-love. If you’re always on-hand to stay late at your job, your boss will come to expect this. If your friends or family take it for granted that they can rely on you when in a fix, this is what they will expect too. Simply saying “No” will assert boundaries, free up your time and enable the people around you to see you in a new light. It’s amazing how when you set your standards and do this unapologetically, others will follow accordingly.
Just like you probably use a diary or calendar for other commitments, I’d encourage you to do the same for your ‘me-time’. This time is purely for you. Whether that’s just taking an hour to read a book, to meditate, to walk in nature or explore something you love - a passion or hobby, this is about reconnecting to yourself. To think about what brings you joy and what might you have lost sight of. To consider if you’re truly happy in the life you’re living right now? Are you happy in your work life and relationships? It gives you time to view your life through a more simplified lens and to see where there might be changes to be made.
This time has to be non-negotiable, just like those other important commitments. This is how to make yourself a priority and it doesn’t have to mean taking hours out every day either! Plus, it gives you something to look forward to when life does get challenging.
Time management is a huge part of self-love. If you’re spinning your wheels trying to get everything done and failing to meet your core needs in the process, this suggests that it could be a case of looking at how to manage your time in a way that creates more time and space.
If you’re familiar with my work, you’ll know I’m a big believer in being fully aware of the flow of your money and looking at where things can be simplified and automated. You have to think about your time in the same way. Could you structure things differently such as doing the chores in one go a day a week instead of at random times every day? Could your family have dinner earlier and all at the same time or could you enlist some help from your partner or children to help with meal-prep or school lunches to free up some time? Could you start actually taking your lunch break (and properly taking a break!) instead of answering emails or working through it?
Once you take time to look at your day to day, you will likely find ways to free up space that you can then dedicate to yourself.
And of course, getting adequate rest, nourishment, exercise and meeting your core needs are a key part of making yourself a priority. When you do all these things, you will soon notice how much of an impact it has on your life. Your stress will reduce, you’ll have more energy and feel more aligned to your true self. This will enable you to show up for the people and commitments in your life to full potential whilst also giving yourself the time and care you need to thrive.
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