This is Part Three of a three-part series on how to make time for self-care and keep yourself on your priority list.
Part 1: 7 Reasons to Stop Feeling Guilty about Taking Time for Yourself
Part 2: 7 Steps to Better Self-care
Part 3 (you are here): 5 Mistakes to Avoid When You Want to Take Better Care of Yourself and Claim More Me-time
It’s not enough to want to meet your goals. Maintaining your priorities (and remembering that you are one of them) is definitely challenging in the midst of a busy life, But it can be done.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When You Want to Take Better Care of Yourself (and Claim More Me-time)
- Surrounding yourself with martyrs. Take a look around. Are you spending time with people whose lives are working for them? Are they meeting their needs, fitting in their workouts and paying attention to themselves? Or—are you hanging out with people who are chasing their lives (and their to-do lists) and taking far better care of their jobs, their relationships—maybe even their cars — then they are of themselves? [Tweet “The people you choose to surround yourself with matter.”] If you are trying to adopt a new habit, learn a new skill, or get better at something (including taking good care of yourself), it’s always advisable to have people in your life who are farther along the path than you are. They’ll be able to support you, validate your choices, and help you along so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel at every growth point.
- Expecting to build Rome in a day. Are you an all-or-nothing kind of gal? Biting off too much at once and expecting too much of yourself—even if it’s good stuff—can quickly lead to stress and overload. THIS can lead to unhelpful reactions like overeating, procrastinating, irritability, or quitting altogether. Sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out how to put yourself first AND be reasonable. Don’t be afraid to start small and build. It’s possible to start creating effective me-time and self-care rituals in as little as ten minutes a day.
- Secretly feeling like you don’t deserve it. Can you really put yourself first without being selfish? It’s a question that many women struggle with. Feeling guilty about prioritizing your own needs can lead to a vicious cycle of half-hearted attempts and various kinds of self-sabotage—because you really don’t believe it’s okay to be focusing on yourself. Mindsets like this can create a lot of frustration. I also believe them to be a major cause of overeating, emotional eating, and weight gain. If you can’t see your way clear of this belief, it’s time to get some help.
- Paying yourself last. Too many women give lip service to prioritizing themselves, but they expect to squeeze themselves into nonexistent openings in their schedule. The best-laid plans never happen. An even bigger trap is the decision to take care of yourself “after everything else is done.” That usually means at the end of the day when you are exhausted. Quality self-care and collapsing in front of the TV or computer are two different things. Even if you are self-disciplined enough to take action in your exhausted state, you are much less likely to enjoy it, be rejuvenated by it, or be cultivating a new habit that you are likely to continue. Carve out a time for you and your goals when you have energy and are able to focus on what you are trying to do.
- Trying to meet your needs on the sly. This trap relates to #3, secretly feeling like you don’t deserve it. Some of the most effective, most assertive women I know (who struggle to take care of themselves) work overtime to fit themselves in, in a way that “won’t inconvenience anyone else.” They attempt to wait until the family has gone to sleep or they get up at an insane hour—not because it works best for them, but because they would feel silly or guilty or uncomfortable declaring time and space for themselves in the midst of everyone else’s busy lives. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t work. Not only is your self-care essential to your well-being, but you are also a powerful example and role model for others. Take a stand on your own behalf. Include your me-time plans on your calendar. Share your priorities with others. You’ll create a lot more positive momentum in the long run.
Keeping yourself on your priority list is essential to living your best life. The difference between surviving and thriving is huge. If you are ready to get into action with simple do-able daily steps, check out my How to Unleash Self-care Instead of Overeating 7 Day Toolkit Program.
Take good care,