How many times have you heard that you need to put yourself first or take care of yourself, but you don’t really know how to do that? Today we will discuss priorities and boundaries to put yourself first and how to apply these to your life.
Let’s break these two words down and learn how to set your priorities and your boundaries to protect you and help you lead a healthy life. But first, let’s talk about you. Just what does it mean to put yourself first.
What does it Mean “To Put Yourself First?”
I could easily go down a rabbit hole and never come back with a thought like how to put yourself first. So let me sort it out in a logical way.
Put yourself first
When you put yourself first, it means taking care of yourself. It means you are the most important person physically, emotionally, and mentally. Your body is interictally made, and every part of it works together. All three physical, emotional and mental aspects of your life are essential for your health. If you neglect one part, the other 2 will also decline.
For instance, if you break your leg, you are also mentally affected. You worry about how you will get around and how you will do your job. Emotionally you are a mess. You get depressed because you can’t do what you need to do. It goes the same no matter which one of these 3 is out of alignment.
You see, it is of the utmost importance that you put yourself first as a whole person and not in portions, like not eating right and expecting your mental status to be in line with your emotional part. As I mentioned, all three work together and help you set functional priorities and boundaries.
care for you Physically
Your health is the cornerstone of your wellbeing. Skipping meals for lack of time will decrease your strength and cause your body to deteriorate. When you put yourself first physically, it allows you to care for others because you are healthy and fit enough to have strength. So put yourself first and have more energy to take care of the ones you love.
Be kind to you emotionally
Being kind to yourself emotionally means to allow for quiet time and down time to regroup.
When you are on the go all the time without any downtime to put yourself first, you become emotionally unstable, which causes physical wear.
Care For You Mentally
To put yourself first mentally is allowing your mind time to unwind and focus on less stressful moments.
You are not always going to be in top mental condition. When you have a mental day, such as unsure of your ability or hormonal crying, allow yourself time to sort out the problem. If you don’t put yourself first, all of your mental anguish will spill over into everything you do. You will end up taking your frustrations out on your family and at work.
How To Put Yourself First With A Family And Job
All of this sounds like it will take a lot of time out of your day, but it doesn’t have to. With the right tools and planning, you will become a pro and put yourself first daily.
You will need to do some groundwork first to set your priorities and boundaries.
Setting Priorities To Put yourself first
Set your priorities and decide who is first in your life after you put yourself first. Is it your family, your dog, your parents, or friends? How you set your priorities is determined by the lifestyle you live.
If you are married with a family then your family will come first after you put yourself first. If your children are young and can’t care for themselves then they will come first after you put yourself first.
Many people will demand your time, but you are the one to decide who will get it. Let’s say the little lady down the street wants you to take her to the doctor. She tells you about it a few hours before her appointment. You have a full-time job at home taking care of your family, and you can’t take her. She is not your priority unless she schedules it and you add her to your list.
First, you need to grab a piece of paper and a pen to make a list. Your priorities will need to be prioritized. What I mean is each one will have a hierarchy.
Steps to setting priorities
Give your list of priorities a time frame of one week. You can make a list of priorities for later, that may be for a month.
- Number one on your list, put yourself first.
- On your list of priorities, put the people in your life as the top priority. Like your husband and children or your partner or your parents or friends. All depending on what your lifestyle is at this time.
- Next on your list of priorities is home and family tasks. It may be getting the kids to activities or dinner or clothes to the cleaners for a family. Remember to put yourself first.
- Then again on your list of priorities put projects that you need to accomplish. These may be home-related or work-related. This can be a bit complicated because it appears your work comes last. But with your list and practice, you are incorporating your work into caring for yourself.
Now we will put your lists together. For example, list the people, leave room for activities under each one, and then leave room for tasks at the bottom. Now pull out the calendar or your phone. Whichever works best for you. I like to have a dry erase calendar board on the wall for everyone to see.
Under your name, make a list of what you need to put yourself first. For example, quiet time, hot soak bath, eating healthy foods, exercise (even if it is parking at the back of the lot at the grocery store.
Ok, so I think you get the picture so let’s move forward. Now that you have your list, you can decide what is most important and start putting it all on the calendar. You may need to move some things to next week but remember the most important person is you. You cannot accomplish taking care of everyone else if you don’t put yourself first.
Setting Boundaries To Put Yourself First
Setting boundaries does not have to be a difficult task. The boundaries you set protect you and your safety zone. The ones I am talking about are not for your family but strictly for you when you put yourself first.
Boundaries protect you and give your life structure. They give you purpose and a direction to care for you.
Boundaries are a line that marks an area. Let’s look at it like a line that marks the area of your physical, mental, and emotional being. You want to set these boundaries firm but not rigid. This means you want your boundaries flexible and steadfast. You don’t want people to mow them down, but you want to be able to move them around as needed to put yourself first.
To successfully set your boundaries, you will want to delegate tasks to other members of your family. For instance, can your husband drop off the clothes at the cleaners? Or can your children pour their own cereal and milk in the morning? Or can you set up a carpool to get the kids to activities? Eliciting help will allow more time to put yourself first.
Steps For Setting Boundaries
You may want to add your boundaries to your list at the bottom. Examples of boundaries are;
- You will not allow other demands from other people to take away your ability to eat healthy meals. Or your boundaries may include healthy meal replacement shakes in place of one sit down meal.
- You will not allow your family or people’s priorities to take away your time to put yourself first. Your family will not be used to having tasks and may rebel. Stand your ground. And if the task is not completed, do not rush in and rescue them. That task may be the clothes to the cleaners. So your husband doesn’t have clean shirts for the week and may need to wear one twice. I bet the next time he drops the clothes off.
- Do not allow others to rearrange the schedule when you put yourself first. An example is; when it is your quiet time, don’t let people interfere with it. There will be a million things you think you need to do, but the most important one is you.
Continue setting your boundaries to protect your line of self-care. I guarantee that when you are cared for first, your family will be better cared for also. You will be happy and more relaxed, which will filter down to your family and friends.
You now have a clear understanding of how to put yourself first and what it means to take care of yourself. You know that to care for others, you have to put yourself first.
You know what priorities are and have a list to write down to place each person and task in order of necessity. And you have set it to your calendar.
You also know what a good boundary is and that many will attempt to break down your boundaries because change is hard. When they get used to the new you taking care of yourself first, everyone will be happier.
Now it is time to go out there and implement your new plan. Practice and revamp it as necessary but don’t give up your boundaries because they will protect you and help you efficiently protect the ones you love.