3 ways I prioritised myself last year + what I learned as a result
I’ve never been very good at prioritising myself. I’m a grade A people pleaser, and as a result, my own wants and needs usually sit at the very bottom of my priority list. But last year, after repeatedly burning out and feeling perpetually frustrated, I realised that I needed to start putting myself first every now and then.
I looked at how I could start to prioritise myself in different areas of my life, and I made some big changes to help me do just that. And today I wanted to share those changes with you, along with the impacts they had on my life, in the hope that 2019 might be the year that you start to prioritise yourself too.
1) I learned how to switch off properly
Last year I took my first two week holiday in ten years. That’s a WHOLE DECADE of working non-stop without more than a week off here and there - no wonder I was so bloody tired all of the time. But perhaps even more radical than taking a two week holiday was the fact that I took a two week holiday without any communication with the office. Not a single email or phone call, no updates from my team or emergency text messages.
And do you know what? Everything was just fine. No disasters occurred because I had taken a break and no projects collapsed without my input for a couple of weeks. And taking those two weeks just for myself and my husband and this wonderful adventure we had gone on together stirred something in me that had been gone for a long time. I felt passionate again, I felt creative. I had a new zest for life, and I came home more ready to pursue my dreams than ever before.
It taught me that we all need that time to switch off properly now and then. We all need a proper break to be able to be the most creative and productive versions of ourselves. And it reminded me that life is there to be enjoyed - what’s the point in working ourselves into the ground if we can’t take a little holiday every now and then?
2) I invested in coaching
For a long time I have suspected that I needed a little guidance when it came to all things careers and business. I have known for years now that I wanted to grow my blog into something bigger and more sustainable, to make a shift that would allow me to create more content for you all and connect with you in a better and more impactful way. But I never really knew where to start.
I enrolled in courses and self help books, read articles and listened to podcasts, but I still always found myself in the same spiral of confusion. I was so overwhelmed with options and advice that I simply froze and didn’t make any changes whatsoever. It was actually during the two week holiday mentioned above that I realised I needed some tailored support, and took the leap of finally investing in a coach.
Choosing to invest in myself and my business was scary. There were tonnes of other things in my life that I could have spent that money on, and for weeks I felt guilty for choosing to spend it on myself. But after my very first session, I knew it was a worthy investment. I’m now feeling more energised and focussed than ever before, and I know that choosing to prioritise myself in this way will reap benefits across all areas of my life.
3) I let go of body guilt
The third and final way in which I chose to prioritise myself last year was by finally letting go of body guilt. Because the truth is, I was never really dieting for myself. I was dieting because I believed I had to be a smaller and more perfect version of myself to be accepted by society. I was dieting because I thought I would be more popular and successful if I still had the size 8 body of my teens.
Rejecting that dieting mentality and finally learning to love my body exactly how it is was one of the biggest game changers for me in 2018. Because when you’re not constantly counting calories or having an internal battle with yourself about whether you’re going to go the gym or not that day, you realise that you suddenly have so much more time and energy for the things that are more important to you.
And quite simply, when you learn to love and accept your body rather than always battling against it, it becomes a little easier to love all of the other areas of your life too.
They say that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and that’s something I really learned to accept last year. By choosing to prioritise myself in big and important ways, I was able to be a better wife, a better daughter, a better citizen and a better friend. I was able to love more, give more, and be more present for the people in my life.
And so, if you struggle to prioritise yourself, I hope these examples and anecdotes give you the motivation you need to put yourself first in 2019.