Most people are told as children that they need to think of others before they think of themselves. In our society, putting yourself first is often seen as selfish and uncooperative behavior, but this is only true when people take this to extremes.
There are very good reasons in life to put yourself first. Recognizing these situations are not selfish behavior but appropriate and necessary is the first step to helping prevent yourself from burnout.
Recognizing You Have Enough on Your Plate
One of the first benefits of putting yourself first is to avoid having too much on your plate. People that are always saying “yes” to new tasks, requests, roles, or suggestions may find they are drowning in things they need to do.
The result of this is feeling overwhelmed, not doing anything really well, and often feeling resentful about what you have agreed to do. Learning to say no is an effective way of putting yourself first. Sometimes known as boundaries, learning to set limits on what you can and cannot do or will and will not do is helpful for you and others around you.
Doing Things You Enjoy
Putting yourself first means sometimes doing things that you enjoy. This could be taking a day off work once in a while to go hiking, visit with a friend, or just enjoy the day lazing around the house.
Doing the things you enjoy relieves stress and helps you to find your purpose and enthusiasm for life. You may even find one thing to do every day that you enjoy, even if it is just for 10 minutes. Finding joy throughout the day is one way of putting yourself first.
More Connected To Others
When you are satisfied and have filled up your own mental, emotional, and physical cup, you can then connect with and help others. People that take time for themselves are able to have compassion and empathy for others, which leads to a more harmonious personal and professional life.
Make Friends That Matter
Spending time with friends that are willing to give and take and support you in your goals is a great way to put yourself first. These people are also there to help, and they provide a strong network to cheer you on and help you achieve your goals.
Finding time to learn what you need is the first step in understanding how to put yourself first. This is a key part of avoiding burnout and having a balance in your life now and in the future.