Why you must learn to put yourself first

The Ambitionist lifestyle, The happiness project, Wellbeing

When it comes to looking after people we – especially women – can tend to put the needs of everyone else before our own.

We don’t even realise we are doing it most of the time it is just an automatic mode our minds are set on:

‘Is everyone OK?’

‘Is everyone happy?’

We will always make sure the kids favourite clothes are washed ready for the weekend as they asked (same goes for hubby) or pick up all of their toys after having a play date over for the morning. We will make sure everyone is eating well and full up on good food while we nibble on something from the fridge quickly in between wash loads. At work we begrudgingly swap shifts with someone because their boyfriend is back in town from a work thing and we know how much they’ve missed them whilst rescheduling homework and doing the food shop.

We aren’t martyrs. I’m not writing all of this for people to give us women a pat on the back and tell us how well we are doing at life. We need to pat our own backs and tell ourselves that. Because we are so busy making sure our family are happy and OK – as of course we should do – that results in us neglecting ourselves. Whether it is forgetting to book a long overdue hair appointment or not having had a long soak for a while with our favourite scented candle.

The truth is, the only way to feel happy is to make yourself happy and it is not selfish to take some ‘me time’ and shut off from the rest of the world. Doing things to make you feel good will do just that and have a huge effect on your mental health and wellbeing which in turn, makes for a better family life. When you feel unappreciated and frumpy it takes its toll on your wellbeing. Taking the time to make sure you have a glass of wine and catch up with your friend or go for a swim will make you feel tons better.

You need time to do what you love to feel better and function better. It is also a very positive role model to set for your children; mummy isn’t just there to clean up and take them to school and feed them. She also goes out with friends, has a hobby and goes to the gym, does her hair and has a bit of fun now and then. SHE IS HUMAN.

Last year I was in a rut and never looked after myself. Gross as it sounds my hair was always unwashed and on top of my head in a bun sprayed with dry shampoo, I didn’t bother with make up even though I usually love wearing it. My eating habits were dire and it showed in my weight and skin. I was a mess and felt disgusting.

Now, I absolutely make sure I do stuff for myself and while yes, it can make my day a little bit longer because I still want to make sure everything is done for me to go to the gym or have a long bath, it is worth it because I feel happier. I used to struggle to wake up in the morning and now (while I do hate getting out of bed) I am up and straight in the shower, I put a bit of make up on (am now a pro at five minute application) plus my hair never goes too long without a wash and I am ready to face the day. It puts me in a better mood to see me looking half decent when I look in the mirror and spurs me on to make the most of the day ahead.

Now that I do stuff for me as well as my family I feel so much happier and I know that my husband and daughter feel the benefit of that too. I don’t feel like I am taken for granted or have to run around after everyone because, even though I do have to run around after everyone, I get my downtime and get to do what I love too. My husband works hard, comes home and relaxes either at the gym or with a beer and watching the football and I work hard then relax by painting my nails or reading a book.

Make it your late new year’s resolution for 2017 to put yourself first and make more time to do the things that you love too. Your body – and family – will thank you for it.

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