Look back over your life and see how often you have been expected to drop everything for someone else, let someone else go first, or have the bigger cookie. Do you feel entitled to say no or to quarantine your ‘me-time’ whether it’s going to the gym or having a massage or an early night? You might be feeling overwhelmed by the demands of others, or even resentful that people expect you to drop everything for them. I know I’ve felt that way.
Here are four good reasons why you need to put yourself first.
1. Your physical health
Weak boundaries and prioritizing others ahead of yourself will increase your stress levels, keep the levels of the stress hormone cortisol high, and leave you feeling exhausted. And as if that’s not enough, the flow-on effects of all this are high blood pressure, increased bodily inflammation, and a less resilient immune system. Rest allows your body to heal and restore so you’ll have much more energy!
2. Your mental health
All the stress and resentment of being at everyone else’s beck and call will increase your anxiety levels. Anxiety and stress have been shown to deplete the levels of serotonin (the happy hormone) in your brain which can increase your risk of depression. Putting yourself first will mean a happier, more positive you.
3. You’ll be a better you
In fact, you’ll be your best you! And there’s no way you can be your best you if you’re running on empty all the time. Putting yourself first and giving yourself some self-care is crucial for refilling your tank. You’ll have more energy, be more present in your relationships, and be more fun to be around.
4. It’s not a zero-sum game
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you’ll disregarding other people’s needs. It’s putting everything into balance and acknowledging that you’re a loved one too! Your needs are as valid as those of your family, friends, and colleagues. And in putting yourself first, you’ll be in a better place for having improved relationships with other people based on honesty and mutual respect for each other’s needs.