As women, we often don’t prioritize ourselves or practice self-care regularly. Add in being a wife and/or mother, and the amount of those women who prioritize themselves drops drastically. However, ignoring your own needs is mentally and physically straining and you can’t continue to show up for anyone without taking care of yourself first. Prioritizing yourself, being able to determine when your cup is empty, and figuring out how to fill it back up is important for your self-care and overall wellness.
Why does prioritizing yourself matter?
Prioritizing yourself is often believed to be selfish and it’s hard to prioritize your life when you feel guilty for taking care of yourself. But it’s important! You’re important, and you deserve to nourish and pour into yourself. Here are some reasons why you should prioritize yourself first:
You can’t be your best self when you are drained
Being exhausted and sluggish all of the time weighs on your mental and emotional state. One of the reasons you should prioritize yourself is so that you can be at your best.
You can’t fully show up for yourself or those around you when you are depleted and attempting to pour from an empty cup.
You drain those around you when you aren’t taking care of yourself
Presenting as your best self requires that your needs are being met. Prioritizing yourself first ensures that you are taking good care of yourself so that you can be at your best.
If you aren’t prioritizing yourself and your needs, then those around you can feel and respond to the unfavorable energy that you are giving off.
You need (and deserve) to practice self-compassion and to be recharged
Prioritizing yourself matters because you aren’t always meant to be “on” and on the go. You deserve to rest and recharge. Remember that you are worthy of positivity, excitement, and the joy and energy that comes along with nurturing yourself in all ways.
You deserve to be stress-free (or at least less stressed)
Stress impacts your mental and physical health. You deserve to take care of yourself to relieve and prevent some of the pressures and tensions of life. Prioritizing yourself in all areas reduces stress, burnout, and the harmful effects of both.
How to start prioritizing yourself
As you move through the work required to begin prioritizing yourself first, permit yourself to be selfish sometimes. Don’t talk down on yourself or feed into any guilt that may arise as you shift your perspective and behaviors.
Slow down and take your time. Learn and appreciate yourself and the things that you enjoy while figuring out ways to recharge and prioritize yourself. With that being said, let's dive into how to start prioritizing your life!
How to prioritize your health
You can start prioritizing yourself by making time to improve your mental and physical health. You can prioritize your health by:
Getting enough quality sleep is important to feel rested and to keep your brain and body functioning at a healthy level.
Lack of rest impairs your ability to reason, to be productive, and affects your mood. You should aim for 7 - 8 hours of quality sleep each night to take advantage of the benefits of good, deep rest.
Treating yourself goes beyond just purchasing something that you want. You can treat yourself by taking a break and taking time to do nothing. You deserve some downtime and it is good for your mental health and happiness.
Prioritize yourself in other ways by treating yourself to your favorite foods, more healthy and complete meals, and by fueling your mind and body in a way that promotes good health.
Treating yourself and taking care of your health improves your mood and allows you to prioritize yourself first and your well-being.
Overall, we spend a lot of time being sedentary which can lead to a host of issues. Prioritize yourself and your health by working in some type of movement each day.
Create a workout routine, plan to stretch, do yoga, dance, etc. to reap the benefits of exercise and being mobile. Find a budget-friendly online trainer if you need some help staying motivated!
How to prioritize your time
Prioritizing your time to get some time to yourself and also accomplish the things that you need to get done is an essential part of prioritizing your life.
Make time to be alone
As busy women, we often don’t get to spend time alone. Depending on your circumstances, making time to be alone may mean waking up before everyone else or staying up a bit later to have some time to yourself.
Whether it’s 10 to 15 minutes or a couple of hours a day, making time to be with yourself is important. You need to spend some time alone to connect with yourself and your needs and also to increase your productivity. So prioritize yourself first by allowing yourself some alone time each day.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Being a “yes person” will have you spending time doing things that you don’t want to do. You don’t have to spend all of your time pleasing others. It is ok to say no to prioritize yourself and how you choose to spend your time.
Use a to-do list or calendar to plan out your day
Of course, all days don’t go as planned, but having an idea of what you need and want to do in a day can keep you on task. Make the most of your time by setting a goal for each day and prioritizing your time so that you can meet that goal.
However, be easy on yourself if you don’t get everything done. We all know that things don’t always play out the way that we plan. So if you don’t get everything done, give yourself grace.
How to prioritize your finances
Prioritizing your life also includes prioritizing your finances! As you work through prioritizing yourself, don’t forget to take some time for your money matters as well.
Pay yourself first
You work hard for your money, and you deserve to keep some for yourself. Whether you are saving for a purchase, to invest in yourself, or to achieve a goal, prioritize yourself by prioritizing saving.
Pay yourself first by saving towards your future and/or saving for your goals and purchases before expending. If you aren’t sure about how things will pan out if you save first before paying bills and spending, prepare a budget to help guide you.
Pay off your debt
Paying off debt increases your cash flow and allows you to do more, like invest in yourself and your future, with your money. So prioritize your finances by making a plan to become debt-free.
Place special focus on your high-interest debt that’s costing you money and taking away from other things that you could be doing.
Stash money away for upcoming expenses and emergencies
To reduce some stress, save a bit of money each pay period to take care of known, upcoming expenses and emergencies that will arise.
You deserve to worry less, and planning will help with that. Prioritize your life and save yourself some stress by preparing for these occurrences.
Prioritize yourself first by setting goals that excite and inspire you
What are your financial goals? Maybe you want to be debt-free, increase your income, or save enough money to take a special vacation.
Prioritize yourself, your wants, and your needs by making a plan to achieve your financial goals. Prepare a budget, or some type of written plan, to map out the steps that you will take to achieve your goals.
Take control and start prioritizing yourself today!
Being selfless and always giving to others without prioritizing yourself and being self-compassionate can lead to you losing yourself and not being your best.
Prioritizing yourself first doesn’t seem as selfish when you think about how important it is to take care of yourself so that you can show up as your full self for those around you.
Your wants and needs are important as well, and you deserve to nurture your personal growth, joy, and well-being. For those reasons among others, making yourself a priority is one of the most selfless things that you can do. So start prioritizing your life today!