Putting YOU on your “TO DO” List
By: Rachel Bradley, Functional Medicine Registered Nurse
You are Worth It!
We’re all guilty of putting others needs and “to-do” lists before our own basic needs. Sometimes it can turn into martyrdom. You end up bending over backwards to ensure others are being taken care of despite your own needs. As a nurse on a busy medical in-patient unit I would not even use the restroom because I was so busy and one time ended up with a UTI! This is not a place we want to be. Usually we don’t even recognize it (unless you’re like me and end up getting a UTI) because we feel like we’re doing the right thing.
I’m here to tell you: it’s not.
You’re doing everyone around you, including the ones you love, a huge disservice by not putting yourself first. I want you to find a mirror right now look into it and say “I am the most important person in my life”… because the fact is, you are.
As director and CEO of a very busy business with a nursing background, “bonus” mom , and a wife, I have been guilty of putting everyone else’s oxygen masks on first. I’ve been on the verge of breaking more than once. If you’ve been here too you can rest assured that you are not alone.
Stress is so common today. In fact, most Americans report moderate to high stress levels. 44 % report that their stress levels have increased over the last five years. The great news is that these stats don’t need to be confirmed by you or your life. So what can you do today to make yourself a priority, lower your stress, and give yourself the love that you give everyone else?
It’s all about starting with small incremental changes and not overhauling your life because we all know how that goes — we try hard, something throws us off so we fail and then feel worse than we did when we started.
3 Simple “To Do’s” for you
Give yourself 30 minutes per day alone.
Tell yourself during this time “IM WORTH IT!” (ideally quietly). Some ways to do this include:
- Take a walk outside
- Enjoy a warm bath.
- Do some yoga (try yoga-burn.net).
- Simply relax (try the Muse device to track your brain waves and improve upon your breathing & meditation).
- Try journaling – start a daily writing practice.
You might be able to push this to an hour to yourself but it certainly doesn’t have to be more than 30 minutes. The key here is connecting with YOURSELF and loving yourself. When you do this you remember little things that you love about YOU and also your life in general. Try to create the above into a routine that works for your schedule — ideally incorporating a few of the items.
Make your OWN space in your home.
I believe Marie Kondo is spot on in her book, The Magic Art of Tidying Up, when she says that you should create a space just for you in your home. You may think your whole home is your space. However, if you live with your family, roommates, or furry friends you are ultimately sharing most of the space within your home.
Having your space – even if small – is meant to be a space for you to both reflect on the past and look forward to your future. Set it up with your favorite memorabilia, photos, and maybe even consider a vision board. This is a great space to spend a portion of your 30 minutes on YOU.
Make a budget for YOU.
We budget for the bills; car and house payments, food, the kids, etc…. where are YOU in your OWN budget? Consider a “spending” card and put a little aside for you each paycheck. This money should be used on you! There is something about purchasing a small gift for yourself out of money that you don’t need to feel guilty about. If you are married or have a significant other — talk about this budget together to keep it fair. Date night can come out of each other’s “spending accounts” allowing you both to take turns “taking each other out for dinner”.
Also – start a budget for YOUR health. Just as you put a little on a spending card it is recommended that you budget, even if just a little, on your own health — I’m not talking about insurance — that is there should things go wrong. Budget for your health to make sure things go right! Here are some examples of how you can use this money:
- gym membership or movement classes
- vitamins and supplements
- massage, acupuncture, skincare
- lab testing and working with a functional medicine provider to understand what your body needs to be healthy
Health Savings Accounts and Flex Spending Accounts are great ways to receive tax benefits and save for your health. Inquire with your employer if these are available to you.
These three things: making TIME for YOU, making SPACE for YOU, and spending MONEY on YOU can help for you to begin prioritizing you. It’s not easy to let go of the guilt and shame around putting yourself first. But implementing these three things can help to start lifting that weight from your shoulders. Here’s to focusing on YOU so you can show up and be your best for others.