Where are you on your own list of priorities? Do you ever put yourself and your needs first? Do you feel guilty about taking time for yourself? Having a bath? Going to a yoga class?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above know that you are not alone. Also know that there is hope, and it’s never too late to start pushing yourself up your own priority list.
I used to be guilty of working all hours; I would always come to the office first, and usually stay after everyone left. I used to think I was too busy to meditate, to hang out with my friends, to just be good to myself. I used to take pride in being overworked, and tired, missing out on my lunch breaks. I even used to be proud of not having time for a relationship! Seriously!
As I write it, I can’t believe how counter productive my behaviour was.
Change didn’t come straight away; it was a slow process of putting my boundaries back. Slowly, but surely I started cutting back on my working hours (surprise, surprise! Nothing bad happened! And most importantly I actually was getting more done!), I started reclaiming my lunch breaks, which meant I’m less tired in the evenings (who would have thought??), I stopped putting enormous pressure on myself to be perfect at everything.
It doesn’t mean dropping standards. It only means taking what’s good enough, when good enough is acceptable. This way I have time to focus on striving for perfection where it really matters, like my purpose, my relationships, my business, my community and me. Yes. I strive at perfect connection to my highest purpose, and my own well-being. Then, and only then, I can fully show up in my relationships, I can fully serve my community and build my business.
Here is a little exercise for you:
1. Write a list of at least 10 things you love doing, things that bring you joy, energise you, and give you pleasure. House chores don’t count, no matter how much you like ironing!
2. Look at your list and chose 5 of your favourite things and write down all the reasons you love doing them. How do you feel when you engage in this activity? What does it bring you? How do you feel afterwards? Really connect to the joy and passion here.
3. Now please open your diary and schedule all these activities over the next month. I mean it, actually put the dates in the calendar, book what you need to book and make a commitment to yourself.
The most likely objection you are going to have here is guilt. Most of us have been raised to think that putting ourselves first is selfish, and we need to take care of everyone else around us until we collapse in despair. I want you to put this idea to bed. You can’t be taking care of others unless you take care of yourself first (you know the old reference to a oxygen mask on the plane??!?!).
Because when you are at your best you, everyone wins.
And let me know in the comments below your top activities you’ll be scheduling in this month. I can’t wait to hear from you!