When was the last time you did something delightful just for you and didn’t feel an ounce of guilt?

Hopefully, your answer is “recently and it was very fulfilling.” But the sad truth is, many of us are socialized to take care of everybody else first and put ourselves last. Which usually translates to feeling “selfish” anytime we honor our own needs.

If we don’t place ourselves at the center of our own lives, we become increasingly scattered, ungrounded, and miserable. If we don’t lovingly create the necessary time and space for our self-care, we sometimes don’t feel whole enough to take care of the people we love or those who depend on us.

If you are weak, you can’t resourcefully support your family, community, and ultimately, your bigger vision and purpose for the world. Putting yourself first gives you access to creating your life in the most empowered way possible.

So, how do you create the ongoing radical self-care habit of putting yourself first?

Keep the following seven words in mind: Awareness-Compassion-Intention-Interdependence-Simplicity-Nourishment-Gratitude.

Ask yourself: What can I do every day to support and nurture myself in each of these areas?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

One: Nourish your mind.

Have you read any good books lately? Make time each morning or evening (even if it is only for twenty minutes) to read a new book for pleasure or to stimulate your brain in different ways and learn more about topics that captivate you

Two: Create a to-do-list.

Make a list of everything you’re currently tolerating or putting up with and “intending to get done.” Start working through your list one step at a time. Some of them may take money to fix, but many are simple annoyances that just need a little attention.

Three: Cultivate an “attitude of gratitude.”

At the end of each day reflect on and write down five things you are grateful for and why. In the morning before you start your day, re-read the five things you wrote the previous evening. You can also tell people in your life something that you appreciate about them and watch them light up!

Four: Spend time outdoors.

Our connection to the nurturing power of Mother Nature is primal. Make sure that you spend some time outdoors every day. Go for a walk; find a green spot somewhere to sit and breathe; if you have a garden, tend to it; watch the sunset.

Practice compassion.

Appreciate the quality of quiet connection that occurs when you purposely choose to hold a conversation where you just listen and commit to keeping the other person at the center of your attention. Don’t offer advice, respond with a story of your own, or negate their experience. Allow yourself to just be with him or her.

Are you ready to create the habit of putting yourself first? It begins with intention. Learn more about life coaching and how it can help you get clear on your next steps toward living your life with authenticity, ease, and joy.

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