woman in art gallery

10 Reminders For The Person Who Struggles To Put Themselves First

  1. Burnout is not a badge of honor. Overextending yourself in your work, your relationships, and your personal goals to the point of burnout is not noble. It is self-destruction. It is exhausting. Spreading yourself too thin waters down the overall quality of your life, which is why it’s so important to make time for rest. Recharge by going to bed early or finally allowing yourself to sleep in. Put your phone on do not disturb. Reschedule plans. Delegate tasks at work. Ask for help. Do things you actually enjoy. And, most importantly, remember to breathe.
  2. Your health and wellness is everything. This goes for your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial health. Take care of yourself in whatever way that looks like to you and your life.
  3. You can give more when you give back to yourself first. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Okay, yes, so #cliche, but cliches exist for a reason. It is a truly lovely thing to want to offer a helping hand to those who need it when they need it. But you can’t fully be there for others until you show up for yourself first. Take care of your own needs, then call your BFF back. Unless there is a legit emergency, most things can wait. Urgency culture is a lie.
  4. Boundaries keep you safe, not closed off. Boundaries strengthen your relationships. They create clear guidelines for expectations, leaving less room for resentment on all sides. Conflict doesn’t destroy relationships. Resentment will, though. Communicate what it is you need from others and hear what your loved ones have to say, too. Have the tough conversations about what you can and won’t accept, and then stick to it. Most importantly, remember that anyone who gets really pissed at you for setting a boundary was most likely benefiting from you not having one in the first place. Rethink those relationships.
  5. Constantly sacrificing your own needs won’t improve your relationships the way you think it will. It will just make you resentful and create murky, unclear boundaries. (Remember! Boundaries! Are! Good!) It will also damage the relationship you have with yourself. After all, when you put everyone and their dog’s needs before yours, whether you realize it or not, you’re telling yourself that your needs don’t matter as much as anyone else’s. This is simply not true.
  6. You don’t have to be useful in order to be loved. The right people love you for who you are, not what you can do for them. Someone who stops calling the second you stop bending over backwards for them probably isn’t the person you thought they were anyway. That’s not someone you want near to your heart. Let them go.
  7. It’s absolutely okay to not answer every phone call. Even if you’re sitting on the couch, watching a re-run of Shrill for the 187th time, not a single responsibility in sight. The only person entitled to your time is you. You can love your friends and be an amazing friend to them without being at their beck and call. In fact, you’d be a better friend if you give them the chance to figure things out on their own every now and then.
  8. Take a deep breath and count to 20 before you offer a helping hand. And then ask yourself why you’re offering your assistance and whether you truly have the capacity to do so. Be brutally honest with yourself, even if you don’t really like what you have to say. For example, are you helping because they really need it? Or are you enabling them? Are you helping them from a place of sincere care, or are you using them as a distraction from your own self-work? Can you really take on that extra assignment, or are you trying too hard to impress someone else’s boss?
  9. You’re the main character of your story. Stop hiding behind the curtains of other people’s wants and needs and dreams. This is your life. It’s more than time you start acting like it. Be curious about yourself the way you would be another. Give yourself the kindness, grace, and care you give everyone else. You deserve it.
  10. You’re doing enough, you’ve done enough, you are enough. Read that again. And again. And one more time while you’re at it. You are enough and always have been. You aren’t perfect, but you don’t have to be. You never did. Perfection is boring anyway.