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3 Ways to Prioritize Yourself {Dietetic Directions, Dietitian}
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3 Ways to Prioritize Yourself!

3 Ways to Start Prioritizing Yourself!

3 Ways to Prioritize Yourself!

Do you feel tired or depleted? Like your car is running on empty? Or perhaps like there is simply not enough time to do things that actually rejuvenate you? If so, you are not alone. In fact, the more chaotic and overwhelming our lives get, often the less time we make for ourselves. I think society has this backwards. Today’s blog is on three simple ways to prioritize yourself!

 

contemplation

 

When we rank our needs as paramount, it has a domino effect. We feel content that we are responding to ourselves, we take time to do things that revitalize us, and this new feeling of cheerfulness spreads to those around us. It’s like the age old saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

 

cup

“You have to fill your cup. You then give away the overflowing, but you keep a cupful for yourself” ~Wynonna Judd #Quote Click To Tweet

 

Points to Ponder:

  • How full is your metaphorical cup?
  • What are you doing to prioritize yourself?
  • Has self-care become part of your routine?
  • Skipping meals, exercise or time with family/friends because of an over-extended schedule?
  • Do you think that pushing yourself to burnout is a badge of honour?

 

Has #SelfCare become part of your regular routine? Find out Andrea’s top 3 tips! Click To Tweet

 

Andrea’s Story:

Let’s get real. I know this topic first-hand. I have struggled with low self-care as a result of being a people-pleaser. This meant that I was often doing things to make others happy before checking in to see what I needed. Others were a higher priority and their needs trumped mine. This way of living made me burnt-out, anxious and unknowingly resentful.

Andrea D'Ambrosio, Dietitian

After all, like many, I believed that prioritizing yourself was selfish. Isn’t it honourable to be tired, burnt-out and with an over-booked schedule? This felt natural and comfortable. It was only when I felt completely exhausted that I re-evaluated self-care in my life. This was the smartest and most valuable thing I could do. Today, I am content and I know how to prioritize and fill my metaphorical cup. It is now a necessity to run/live with a full tank of gas instead of on empty.

 

My intention in writing this post is to inspire others to make self-care a priority. To not wait until they are burnt-out or have sacrificed their health as a result.

 

Why is it so Hard to Prioritize Ourselves?

  • Our culture promotes taking care of others first. This belief makes it difficult to listen in to our voices and honour what we need – this problem is especially prevalent among women.
  • Over-committed, busy lifestyles. We don’t have a chance to sit back and do less.
  • We’re afraid if we make time for ourselves we may feel bored, sad or uneasy. This makes it easier to distract ourselves with work and/or stress.
  • Don’t feel worthy of having our needs met. This feeling is often difficult to acknowledge.
  • Fear self-care will be expensive or too much effort.
  • Don’t know how to comfort ourselves without distractions like food, TV or chores, etc.
  • Don’t know how to start…

 

Uncertain where to start to increase your #SelfCare? Check out Andrea's top 3 tips to prioritize yourself! Click To Tweet

 

Andrea’s 3 Simple Ways to Prioritize Yourself:

  1. Increase Your Emotional Awareness:

Last summer, I read a book about emotional intelligence. I soon realized that there is a real art in the ability to explore our emotions. Especially because our feelings are often not positive . Taking a closer look at how we feel is important because how we feel acts as a magnet drawing in more of what we are feeling. Therefore, if we feel stressed/rundown and don’t take a chance to validate these feelings, we will continue to bring in more stress into our lives.

 

Increase your emotional awareness. How we feel acts as a magnet drawing in more of the same. #SelfCare Click To Tweet

Stress

Try:

To start prioritizing yourself, connect with your feelings. When an opportunity or question arises, ask yourself: how do I feel about this? Do I want to do X? If I did X or joined Y, would this add to my stress or take away? Do I feel excited about this? Listening to your intuition and responding accordingly are acts of self-care. By listening, you are prioritizing YOUR needs, placing yourself first. Way to go!

 

Increasing emotional awareness is key to improving #SelfCare. #Health #mentalhealth Click To Tweet

 

Check-in to see what emotions you’re feeling throughout the day. Don’t judge them, just acknowledge/validate them. What’s your stress level? Check in on your anxiety, which is a result of an underlying feeling. When your emotional awareness increases, you can better respond and prioritize your needs.

For example, say a friend asks if you’d like to go for dinner Wednesday. Check in with your gut. How do you feel about this? Do you truly want to go? You might notice that you’re tired and Wednesday was your only day to relax and go to bed early. Often “should’s” come in. You “should” say yes, if you don’t she/he won’t ask again or you will disappoint them. Instead, swap the “should” to a “could” and see how this feels. I “could” go out for dinner on Wednesday; how do I feel about this? Listen closely – it’s quietly apparent if you want to or not. Honouring yourself (and what you need) is liberating. This may not be easy – especially for people-pleasers.

Dinner

 

  1. Make Time For Fun!

As adults, we forget to have fun! I am guilty of being far too serious. And for what? Life is short. Why not prioritize laughter? Will we ever look back on our life and wish we were more serious? If you are having fun, you are prioritizing YOUR inherent desire for joy. Who’s with me?

 

“It is a happy talent to know how to #play.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson #Quote Click To Tweet

 

Try:

Look at your day-to-day activities and see if you can increase the fun-factor. Maybe weekend breakfasts become a themed event. Bring a magazine to remind you to take time for a lunch to relax during a busy day at work. Dance in the morning to your favourite music. Why? Because prioritizing fun is prioritizing YOU. If your boss gives you a strange look, remind them that research also shows an increase in productivity when people are happier and do things like play or exercise.

 

By having #fun, you are prioritizing your inherent desire for joy. #SelfCare #play Click To Tweet

 

Seek activities that bring you delight. Notice times when time passes because you are having so much fun. Are you painting, reading, jogging, dancing, wood-working? Whatever it is, do more of it! Sign up for a class, or block time in your schedule to do your favourite activity. The act of physically blocking time helps busy people prioritize themselves.

 

woman-smartphone

 

Another part of having fun is saying no to exercise that is boring or not enjoyable – it’s not sustainable either. Do something that is fun and this will help perpetuate this habit. I am loving Hot Pilates lately, the music is energizing and I feel super energized afterwards. It’s fun so I’ll continue.

 

walk

 

You will know your new activity is solidified when it becomes a “non-negotiable.” For example, no matter how busy, if eating breakfast is a priority, you will always (or almost always) make it happen. If exercise (whatever kind) lowers stress, boosts mood and makes you feel strong, you will fit it into your busy schedule because it’s a “non-negotiable” – you simply work it in. In my practice, it is amazing when the healthy-promoting activities of clients become non-negotiables. Magical things happen because these routines somehow find their way into your busy schedule.

 

A new healthy #habit is solidified when it becomes a “non-negotiable”. #SelfCare Click To Tweet

 

  1. Make Time for Rest

We live in a sleep-deprived nation. Among Canadians, one in three sleep under the recommended hours for optimal mental and physical health. Insufficient sleep (short duration and poor quality) is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, depression, irritability, and reduced well-being (Statistics Canada, 2017).

To start prioritizing sleep, we first must be honest if we are getting enough. Are you tired in the morning? Does your body crave more rest? What is keeping you from getting to sleep earlier or sleeping better? If you are experiencing disturbances with your sleep, speak to your doctor or related health professional to assess for underlying concerns.

 

clock

 

Is getting enough sleep a priority? Here are some tips! Click To Tweet

 

Try:

  1. Make hitting 7 to 9 hours a sleep a “non-negotiable”. If you are currently much lower than this, consider increasing sleep by 15 or 30 minutes.
  2. Notice how your body and mind feels the next day when you’re better rested.
  3. Create healthy habits around unwinding before bed. Activities that you enjoy and look forward to. I love having a new book on the go to read before bed.

 

Bottom Line:

Prioritizing our needs is not easy, especially with competing demands from a hectic work and life schedule. When you feel run down, tired or like your car is running on empty, take a step back to evaluate if you’re taking time to fill your cup. Acknowledge that only if you are at your best can you be most effective in your work and life commitments. You can begin to increase your self-care by increasing your emotional awareness, the fun in your life and making time for rest. Learning how to prioritize and fill your cup at these difficult times takes practice but it will pay off tremendously!

 

Self-Care Sunday Retreat

 

P.S., Exciting news! I will be co-hosting Self-Care Sunday Retreat with my friend, Selam Debs on July 15th. This will be a rejuvenating day of restorative yoga, meditation, nutrition seminar and interactive food-demo with lunch. Goodie bags and door prizes as well. We are over 75% sold out! Hope to see you there 🙂 Registration here.

 

Now it’s your turn! How do you implement self-care into your routine? What would you like to start doing? What might be some of the cherished benefits you will receive?

 

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