Taking Care of Yourself First – How to Actually Make it Happen

Hands up if taking care of yourself first seems like a joke someone with too much time made up? I know the feeling. In fact, I used to be stuck deep in that rut.

But continuously giving away your energy without replenishing your supply is a recipe for disaster.

It’s something you can sustain for a little while – or maybe even what feels like a long time – but, eventually you’ll be left without a sense of well being and be buried deep in the burnout zone.

That’s why you need to start taking care of yourself first. Not only will this help you feel happier and more fulfilled but it will help you better care for others and meet the demands of your busy life.

*Please note: The Modern Guide to Homemaking is not a professional health or wellness authority. All information in this article should be viewed as personal opinion. If you require mental health counseling or emotional support, please contact your doctor.

The Key to Being Successful in Taking Care of Yourself First

Finding the time, energy and motivation to take care of yourself is a continual process. But, I’ve learned the biggest factor in helping me to keep going is a simple one – awareness.

I used to be so unaware of myself – unaware of how my actions were impacting my body. At times it can still be a struggle but I’ve become way more in tune with how my body needs to be treated.

Through lots of experimentation, I’ve realized putting myself first gives me a larger capacity to enjoy life and take care of my circle of influence. I know this might seem easier said than done (it is) and maybe even impossible given your list of demands. But taking care of yourself and tuning into your body gives you a greater ability to care for it in the way it needs to be cared for which optimizes its performance.

While there are many ways to raise awareness of oneself, I’ve learned how to be aware of my body through meditation.

How Meditation Helps You Develop Awareness When Taking Care of Yourself First

Meditation can be practiced in many different ways but a universal guidance it offers is to be mindful. And learning to be mindful of your emotions, thoughts and feelings raises your awareness of your body significantly.

I enjoy participating in guided meditations. This allows me to relax and follow prompts without worry about what I need to be doing.

I’ve been consistently mediating for several months and have seen a huge increase in connection to my body. I can better understand what prompts my body is giving me to help address my stressors.

A big breakthrough for me was understanding that prompts my body gives me around anxiety. Usually when my anxiety is heightened and my stress is increased it means I have not been expending enough physical energy. It wasn’t until I started practicing meditation that I could see this connection.

Understanding this connection has helped me understand the importance of taking care of myself first. I need to replenish my supply before it gets depleted.

Recommendation: I love the Calm app. It’s a mindfulness app that offers guided meditations on all sorts of topics, stories to help you fall asleep and much more. You can get the app free and upgrade to the paid version if you like what you see. (I’d recommend the paid version as it unlocks access to everything. No, I’m not getting paid to say this. I’m just a really happy user!)

Put Taking Care of Yourself First Into Action

So, awareness and mindfulness sound great but how do you even get started? These four tips will walk you through how to do just that:

1. Determine Your Motivator

In order to truly succeed, you need to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you’re looking into how to take care of yourself first I’m willing to bet you’ve felt the effects of not doing so. Use this to help you figure out what is motivating you to change. Ask yourself what it is that you want to stop feeling. Taking the time to understand what you don’t want can help you understand what you do want.

Come up with one or two sentences that express your motivation and write them down in a place that will be easy to reference. (If you want some added motivation, you can even tell a friend or spouse about your “why.”) Just know that your motivator might change and it’s OK if it does. As you learn to be more in tune with yourself you might realize deeper reasoning.

Come up with one or two sentences that express your motivation and write them down in a place that will be easy to reference. (If you want some added motivation, you can even tell a friend or spouse about your “why.”) Just know that your motivator might change and it’s OK if it does. As you learn to be more in tune with yourself you might realize deeper reasoning.

2. Be Committed to the Process

There’s a reason people get stuck in the cycle of putting others first – it’s not easy to truly take care of yourself. This means that it’s not going to be a direct route from point A to point B.

There will be times you fail, times you wonder if what you’re doing is working and times where you’ll be on cloud nine. It’s all part of the process.

Just know that failure isn’t defined by stumbling, it’s defined by getting up, adjusting your route if needed and getting back on the journey.

3. Make a Plan and Start Small

While it’s good to have big dreams, it’s important to start small. You need to pick an actionable goal that will be achievable. If you’ve had an idea of what taking care of yourself first looks like for you, now is the time to pick one of the things you’ve been contemplating. Maybe its starting the day with yoga, writing in your journal or going on a walk by yourself 4 times a week.

If you’re not so sure what you need, you might want to consider a mindfulness goal. This will help you get in tune with your body so you can better know how to take care of it.

Either way, pick one small task that you can do on an almost daily basis.

Tip: When starting new routines you can set yourself up for success by realizing it’s likely you won’t go from zero to one hundred right away. Plan for the likelihood of there being some days you won’t get around to it. For example, instead of planning to go to the gym every single day, plan to go at least four times a week and consider any additional time as a bonus!

4. Recognize the Small Victories

Remember that this will be a learning process – cut yourself some slack.

Be kind to yourself and recognize the progress you’re making. Even if it seems too small to notice.

Start Taking Care of Yourself First Today

While there’s still a journey ahead of you, you’ve already taken a big first step. Simply by taking the time to read this blog post you’ve heightened your awareness of what you need to do to start taking care of yourself first.

What is an act of self care you’d like to try? Or what is something you’ve already been doing? Let us know in the comments below – we love hearing what you have to say!

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