Many of us have been conditioned by society to believe that prioritizing ourselves is selfish, when in reality, dedicating more time to self-care can benefit us greatly. While caring for others is important, it's crucial to prioritize our own well-being in order to achieve the happiness we deserve. Here are some steps you can take to focus on yourself:
1. Don't do anything you don't want to do, even if it's for someone else
It's perfectly acceptable to prioritize your own preferences over your best friend's request to go out drinking on a Friday night. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for wanting to stay in and unwind with a face mask, especially after a hectic week. Feeling pressured and guilty may indicate that you need to prioritize your own needs more often.
2. Take yourself on a date
Spending time alone is crucial if you want to connect with your true self. Don't hesitate to enjoy activities solo like going to the movies or trying out a new restaurant. It's liberating to know that you don't have to wait for someone else's availability to pursue your interests, such as trying out that new Indian restaurant you've been eyeing. You can go whenever you feel like it!
3. If you aren't happy or comfortable, leave
In the past, I found it challenging to exit situations that made me feel uneasy, even when my safety was in jeopardy. As a child, I was taught to value commitments and avoid being impolite or unreliable. While those are commendable traits, it's vital not to let them prevent you from prioritizing your mental and physical well-being by removing yourself from harmful situations.
4. Take control of your environment
If your workplace is negatively affecting your mental health, consider finding a new job. If your roommate's strict cleanliness standards make you feel uneasy, it might be best to move out. Many individuals remain in unhappy environments because they don't see a viable way out, but remember that there is always a choice.
5. Stay away from toxic people
Detaching yourself from toxic individuals, particularly if they are friends or family, can be challenging. Initially, you may feel as though you are being disloyal. However, you are not obligated to be around toxic people. In reality, it's essential that you avoid them at all costs. Remember that you become like those you surround yourself with, so be mindful of who you spend time with.
6. Stop being a doormat for everyone
As a kind, compassionate, and empathetic person, others may attempt to exploit your good nature. Although they may not have ill intentions, many of them may not even realize what they're doing. If you find yourself in a one-sided relationship where you give more than you receive, it's essential to terminate it.
7. Give yourself unconditional love
The most valuable present we can offer ourselves is self-love without conditions. When we acknowledge that we deserve the best, we become assertive in seeking the best. With self-love, there's no need to worry about others taking advantage of us since we're aware of what is right and wrong.
8. Don't feel guilty for your self-care needs
Self-care requirements vary among individuals. For example, if I'm feeling stressed, I prefer to be alone in my room wearing a facemask. This may be the opposite of what you need, and that's acceptable. I've often felt guilty about my self-care choices, but letting go of that weight has significantly improved my happiness. I'm confident that it'll have the same effect on you.
9. Learn the difference between pushing yourself and forcing yourself
Differentiating between pushing oneself beyond their comfort zone and forcing oneself into a dangerous situation is crucial. To lead a fulfilling and exciting life, it's necessary to expand beyond one's comfort zone continually. However, it's important to recognize when you're putting yourself in harm's way.
10. Practice saying no
Establishing boundaries is vital for self-care. Declining invitations can be challenging, particularly for people who seek to please others, such as myself. However, the key to feeling fulfilled rather than drained is learning to set boundaries for oneself.