We often feel pressure to meet certain expectations and do things we don’t really want to do. Sometimes, people try to impose their own beliefs on us. In a world like this, it’s easy to forget about ourselves.
However, we have the power to shape our own lives. It’s our life, and we have the freedom to choose who we want to be and what we want to do.
If you’re someone who naturally puts others before yourself, it can be challenging to prioritise your own needs, especially if you’re used to worrying about others and their problems. But if we make a conscious effort to put ourselves first, we can become better at listening to our own needs.
Over time, we can create a life that revolves around us, rather than constantly catering to others and the superficial world around us.
Here are 9 things you can do to make yourself a priority:
1. Practice Mindfulness and Take Breaks for Yourself
Mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment, and it’s a great way to start prioritising yourself.
Don’t stress about meeting future expectations; the future is uncertain, and worrying about it won’t help. Often, our anxiety about the future comes from fearing we won’t meet certain expectations or please certain people.
Instead of giving top priority to these expectations and people, safeguard your inner peace by staying in the present and focusing on yourself. You can try meditating for just five minutes in the morning or journaling in the evening. I’ve even written a post about journaling for self-growth, which might interest you if you want to explore different ways to use a journal.
2. Reflect Before Deciding
Take time to reflect, especially before making decisions that involve you. For example, if a friend asks for your help, ask yourself: Do I genuinely want to do this, or do I feel pressured or obligated?
Consider whether the task is genuinely worth your time and well-being, especially if it’s something you’re not obligated to do. Also, think about what brings you happiness and try to incorporate more of those things into your life. Set aside at least five minutes each day or dedicate a full day each week (like a weekend) to focus on activities that bring you joy.
3. Reflect on Your Choices
Take some time to think before making decisions that involve you. For instance, if a friend asks for your help with something, pause and ask yourself: Do I genuinely want to do this, or do I feel pressured into it?
Consider whether the task is truly worth your time and well-being, especially if it’s not something you’re obligated to do. Also, think about what brings you joy and happiness. Dedicate at least five minutes every day or set aside a whole day each week (like a weekend) to focus on activities that make you feel good.
4. Learn to Say No
Building on the idea of reflection, if you realise that you don’t want to fulfil a request, it’s essential to learn how to say no.
If saying no is challenging for you, try creating a “not-to-do” list. Write down tasks or favours that you don’t want to take on—this is particularly helpful if people frequently ask you for the same things. This practice helps you stay committed to yourself because you’ve made a promise to yourself not to do these things.
Remember that saying no isn’t impolite; it’s a way of demonstrating that you value your own energy and time.
5. Recognise Your Worth
It’s crucial to acknowledge that your time and your work have value. This understanding will empower you to say no when necessary.
To grasp your own worth, work on improving your self-concept. Affirmations can be a helpful tool. Affirmations are positive statements that can reshape the way your subconscious mind thinks. They can be specific, addressing particular challenges that hold you back from prioritising yourself, or they can be more general.
6. Prioritise Sleep
Getting enough sleep is incredibly important for our well-being. It’s a foundational pillar of good health and a positive mood, and it’s essential for self-care.
This advice is especially relevant if you often find yourself working overtime. If you’re sacrificing sleep to please everyone and take on more work than necessary, it’s time to reconsider. Your body requires proper rest, so prioritise it and listen to your body’s needs.
Additionally, getting sufficient sleep will boost your energy and productivity, reducing the need for overtime work. In my opinion, there are very few valid reasons to compromise on sleep.
7. Nourish Your Body
Your body is a remarkable machine, and it needs fuel to function at its best. Don’t neglect it.
Similar to sleep, proper nutrition is a fundamental pillar for maintaining good health and a positive mood.
Therefore, eat balanced and satisfying meals. Show your body and yourself that you care by consuming foods that you enjoy and that provide you with energy.
Also read: Buying a New Home is Greener Than You Think
8. Surround Yourself with Positivity
Our environment has a big impact on how we feel. If you’re surrounded by negativity, it can bring you down.
Prioritising yourself also means distancing yourself from people or things that are harmful to your well-being. This includes situations where people make you uncomfortable or unhappy. You should feel good when you interact with friends or people in general.
You don’t deserve to have toxic influences in your life. If certain things or people are making you feel negative, consider addressing the issue through communication (with people) or, in more severe cases, cutting ties with them.
Strive to surround yourself with positivity—engage with things that bring you joy and spend time with people who support and encourage you.
9. Embrace Your Uniqueness and Avoid Comparisons
Each person is unique, and that’s something to celebrate. There’s no need to compare yourself to others because everyone has their own individual qualities.
You are one-of-a-kind and a special human being. Instead of comparing yourself to others, love and accept yourself just as you are.
To prioritise yourself, recognise that your uniqueness comes with specific needs that others may not have. Don’t suppress these needs; instead, embrace them and appreciate how special you are. Not everyone will understand you, and that’s okay. Focus on your inner world rather than external factors that can hinder your self-prioritisation.