Lean into the discomfort of putting yourself first, writes Sanya Minocha, a wellbeing coach and holistic counsellor who helps individuals find a sense of inner freedom and contentment by connecting with themselves on a deeper level. Her expertise lies in curating safe spaces for clients to dream bigger and create a life that is reflective of their deepest desires.
When was the last time you prioritised yourself, gave importance to your wellbeing?
If this question makes you uncomfortable, it’s okay. As a society, we’re well versed at taking care of others. Our daily duties of picking up kids from school, cooking, parenting, working, cleaning and managing our relationships, doesn’t leave much room for ourselves.
It’s not until we receive a health scare or notice something is amiss in our lives, that we stop to take stock. Prioritising ourselves can be challenging for many.
We know that taking care of ourselves is important. But the guilt that arises at the thought of devoting time for self-care often acts as a barrier to making it happen. It’s so much more easier to keep doing what you’ve always done. This is a great short-term strategy. But in the long run, it isn’t the best, most effective way of living.
The truth is you are the common denominator in all your life’s happenings. Everything you do, every interaction you have, every conversation you have, every experience you gain, all pours out of you. Creating space to look at how you’re functioning (on a body, mind and emotional level) is not only important, but essential to your wellbeing. Not doing this, results in physical symptoms, dysfunctional relationship dynamics and challenging work scenarios – all alerting us to look within.
Our wellbeing is also directly proportionate to the level of fulfilment and satisfaction we experience in our lives. Our relationship with our partner, kids, family, friends, career, money, food, body, are a direct reflection of our relationship to ourselves.
When we take the time to know ourselves, we learn about the operating manual within our mind and body, and this allows us to function better, and as a result feel more fulfilled and connected to the things we love. If we’re neglecting or suppressing our emotions, experiencing anxiety, stress, overwhelm, or any other challenges in one area of our life, we can be rest assured that these challenges will affect the other areas of our life too. Everything is interconnected. For this reason, looking after ourselves is non-negotiable.
If you’re on board with this idea, and nodding along in agreement, the first place to start would be to acknowledge the guilt that arises when you think of making self-care a mandatory aspect of your life.
Feeling guilty is extremely natural. The best way to deal with guilt is to embrace it. It’s simply the result of an outdated belief. You might believe that looking after yourself takes away from the other important things in your life, such as your family, or work life. This is simply not true. Prioritising your relationship to yourself actually adds value to the other relationships in your life.
When you take the time to get to know yourself, you’ll feel calmer, present and more focused in the other areas of your life. If you’re new to the idea of prioritising yourself, start small. Allocate 10 mins in your day to check in with yourself.
Close your eyes, put one hand on your heart, take a deep breath in and ask yourself these two simple questions: ‘If I was really honest with myself, how do I feel?’
‘What support do I need from myself and others today?’
Activities such as journalling your thoughts, taking a walk, meditating, joining a yoga/fitness class or working with a life coach are also effective ways of prioritising your wellbeing. We need to give ourselves the same importance we give to others in our life. All it takes is a shift in perspective. When we prioritise our wellbeing, we start to experience the inherent value present in this and we see that – taking care of me, is a win-win for everybody.