You feel constantly worn down, shorted, and like the world is against you. Maybe not the whole world, but a significant enough portion of it, at least. I mean… Yeah, some people want what’s best for you, but they also seem to be responsible for a lot of why you’re feeling run-down and just exhausted. They need so much, and you really don’t have that much to give… You feel like you don’t have much space for anything, and if you do get the occasional break, all you want to do is switch your brain off and go into couch potato mode.
And everything is so much, so overwhelming, so anxiety-inducing, that you just can’t find it in yourself to feel proud of you. You’re barely making it through the day, let alone achieving anything that’s meaningful to you. You don’t feel proud. You feel like a wreck. There’s nothing there to be proud of.
These past few blogs, I’ve been talking to you about self-love and self-acceptance. I’ve also gone through overcoming self-doubt. I’ve given you the foundation to work towards building an internal environment that supports you, which is an important step towards developing sustainable self-confidence.
But none of that is helpful if you don’t start taking concrete action for yourself.
This exhaustion, anxiety, and overwhelm, it’s as a result of one major issue that you’re coming up against. And it’s a common issue. You’re failing to Prioritise Yourself. Your habits, lifestyle, and thinking patterns are dictated by what you choose do for others, instead of what you choose to do for yourself.
See, here’s what happens. You want to be able to keep up with what you’ve been taught is important. Your responsibilities to your employer, your job, your family, to society even. You might have a significant other, or children, or perhaps siblings, who all demand your time and attention. You need to earn a living, and you need to make sure you’re channelling as much energy and time as you can into making that money. Your concerns and your priorities are making sure that all those factors that are external to you are met. You’re aware that you need to dedicate time and energy towards taking care of yourself, I know you do, but after you’ve tended to everything else, you just don’t have time or energy left to spare.
Enough. It’s time to change that. It’s time to start Prioritising Yourself.
What does it mean to Prioritise Yourself?
Prioritising Yourself is simply making sure that your desires are met first, before you turn to the desires of others. It’s CHOOSING YOU! My favourite example of this is what they tell you when you get on a plane… ‘in the event of an emergency, make sure you’ve put your oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else put theirs on’. There’s a great and simple logic to it. You’re not going to be of any use to anyone if you’ve passed out. So… make sure you don’t pass out by putting your oxygen mask on first!
Despite being an incredibly simple concept, way too many people struggle with it. And there’s a very good reason why. It goes against everything we’ve been taught. Sharing is caring. And if you’re not sharing your time, space, and energy, then are you really caring? Self-sacrifice is the noblest and purest demonstration of love. If you’re not sacrificing your time, space, and energy, are you really loving? Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you’re not giving everything you have, how can you expect to receive anything in return?
Added to that, there’s the insecurity we have about ourselves. While a lot of us hate to admit it, secretly, deep down, we feel like we don’t deserve to make ourselves a priority. Who am I, this tiny insignificant being, to demand that my priorities are met first? Nobody, that’s who. Everyone around me knows it, and I know it too. Imagine if I go around acting like I’m more important than I am. Imagine…
We develop a loathing of the concept of prioritising ourselves, that just gets deeper and sharper as we learn more and more to sacrifice ourselves to tend to just about everything else, except ourselves! But the truth of the matter is that this loathing is not justified.
Why is it important to Prioritise Yourself?
Let me put it this way. A lot of us give from our cups, instead of from the overflow, from the saucer if you will. We don’t allow ourselves the time and space to have overflow, and so we dip into that cup, and we give and we give. What happens when we do that? We don’t have enough in that cup to take care of our own needs.
And what does that look like? Well… like what I described in the beginning of the blog. We deplete ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically, to the point that we don’t have the energy to pursue anything meaningful for us. And when I say meaningful, I don’t mean frivolous and superfluous. I mean the ESSENTIAL meaningful things. Like making sure we’re comfortable, we’re emotionally taken care of, that we are doing things that make us feel proud of who we are (and not what we can accomplish for others), and that we are properly rested both mentally and physically.
Listen, I’m going to tell you this straight up, because I don’t think there’s any point in beating around the bush. The worn out, unhappy, dissatisfied, emotionally drained you… She’s not performing at her best. You know that she’s not. You’re unhappy with that run-down person that you show up as. You know that you could do better, you could be better. You know that if you got some ‘proper’ time for yourself, you could be the happier person that shows up to listen to problems and lend a hand in a positive, helpful way. You know that if you took care of yourself, you could show up to work with the energy and drive that your work deserves, to deliver in a way that makes you genuinely proud, instead of barely hitting the targets that you’re hitting now.
Prioritising Yourself is important, simply because if you’re not investing care in YOU, you’re not showing up as that amazing Queen that you can be, who is able to handle whatever is thrown her way. You can become the person you want to become.
So, with that being said, let’s get to the concrete actions.
How to Prioritise Yourself
Prioritising Yourself isn’t about being selfish. It isn’t about never helping others. It’s simply about restructuring your time, and re-allocating your energy to make sure that you see yourself as ‘somebody’ too. It’s about recognising that you cannot help people from a place of love, joy and abundance when you’re exhausted, overwhelmed and depleted. And do you know what? By dedicating small portions of your day to you, you can take care of everything you need, and have more than enough left over to take care of everything else that’s important to you, and even things that aren’t as important. It’s those small pots of time that contribute to filling your cup.
And here’s how you can do it.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! It’s incredibly important for you to be able to set boundaries for yourself, and respect them. I know that the prospect of setting boundaries feels daunting at first, because you’re in your head trying to figure out how to say ‘no’ to people… especially people you might be close to. This will be a learning curve for you, and those who care for you. That’s ok, in fact, it’s good. You may not realise it right now but everyone benefits when we set boundaries. People have clarity, they know where they stand. Go ahead and consider what boundaries would serve you. You can start by thinking what boundaries would be good at home, for example, if you have a busy household, you could set a boundary by creating a space in your home that’s reserved only for you at a certain time of the day, to having certain hours be dedicated to doing things only for you, set those boundaries and make them known. Your home boundary could look like… ‘Mommy is going to be in the study this morning, and she’ll be back here at noon to play with you. I need this space for my projects, so please can you make sure it’s undisturbed, and in return, you can have that space for whatever it is you want to do’.
This applies to your employer as well, or if you’re a freelancer, or consultant, to your clients, ‘I am not reachable outside of the hours of X and Y, but will get back to you once I am back online’.
Be clear, respectful, and patient. But the most important rule about boundaries and often the most difficult thing to do in the beginning is, to respect your own boundaries. Don’t quit on it as soon as it feels a little awkward or uncomfortable. You can’t be upset about people not respecting your boundaries, when you don’t respect them yourself. Oh and Queen? This is a two-way street. Make sure that you’re also listening to others’ boundaries, and respecting them as well. If you’re showing other people that you’re happy to walk all over their boundaries, you can expect the exact same treatment back!
Create your schedule around your needs. If you’re a business owner, like me, or if you’re a career driven queen, it is important that you don’t plan your life around your business, but that you integrate your business (or fit your career), into your life. ALIGNMENT IS KEY! Consider what you want your day to look like, what would be best for you. What would set you up for success? Then begin to plan the day fitting your tasks into the assigned times and honouring the boundaries you have created. If you do need to step over your boundaries, make sure it is a very conscious decision and it is an exception, and does not become the rule.
Create a morning routine for yourself, and stick to it. You know what? I thought coffee was the most important thing for me to start off my day right, before I discovered the sheer power of a healthy morning routine. And no, I don’t go for an hour-long run at the crack of dawn before gulping down a broccoli and beetroot smoothie. To each their own, if this is you, good on you. But there’s not enough money in the world that’ll make me voluntarily ingest raw vegetables in liquid form before the sun has even risen. My morning routine consists of 10 minute meditation. I do a devotional reading, I do some stretches, often 10-20 minute yoga, (or sometimes boxing…I have a free standing punch bag which I love). I recite my authenticity mantra, take time to educate myself with a chapter or two from an ebook I’m going through, then I make a coffee and do my 3P’s which is setting my top 3 daily Priorities, top 3 People to help me meet my priorities, and top 3 actions to move my Projects along. I do all this before I’ve opened an email or picked up someone else’s needs. The way your ideal morning routine looks to you is deeply personal, but consider dedicating some time for yoga, maybe a skin care routine, reciting mantras that uplift you, or simply making space to enjoy some quiet time with a book you’ve been meaning to read. Whatever that looks like, set it, and make sure it’s the first thing you do every morning, before easing yourself into your day. It could be a 10 minute ritual, or an hour, that’s up to you.
Pick one self-improvement thing you want to do for the next month, and stick to it. I don’t mean going overboard and trying to become a new person in a month. Taking on too much will mean that you don’t do any of it, and you feel let down. Pick one thing, and one thing only. It could be dedicating a few hours each week to a new language, finding time for a book, hey, GROWTH, the CQA self-healing book club is currently open to the public, you can join us as we read Becoming by Michelle Obama this month. Or perhaps even finding time in your schedule to attend a few classes (there are heaps available online, if you’re a homebody) to pick up a new skill. Have it be something meaningful to you, and not something you think others would want you to do. Making sure that you’re constantly learning and bettering yourself is essential to you becoming more confident in your abilities, so make sure that you’re getting this self-improvement time in!
All right Queen, that’s it from me. I know that Prioritising Yourself will feel a bit awkward at first, but you’ll see that once you get in the habit of doing it, you won’t be able to turn back! It will bring a level of cadence to your life that all will enjoy.
And if you’re looking to step up your game, and really commit to being that Confident Queen you know you can be, the CQA doors are open for a limited time only. Get in here, and let’s start your journey towards the happier, purpose-driven life with the sustainable self-confidence that’s been waiting for you!
Fix your crown.