You probably grew up being taught some version of the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want them to treat you. Every great religion in the world has some form of this rule within its teachings, and it’s a wonderful guiding principle to live by. However, most people don’t apply this ideology to the way they treat themselves.
At the same time that you are striving to treat others as you would like them to treat you, you should also put some focus on treating yourself the way you treat others. After all, if you don’t care for yourself, it will become almost impossible to care for others. Here are a few ways that you can start treating yourself as well as you treat those around you.
Learn To Say No
Before you can take time for yourself, you need to make time for yourself. If you’re the kind of person who has something on their schedule from the time they get up until they go to bed, this is an essential skill. You must reclaim your time and reallocate some of it to your own needs.
Learning to say no once in a while doesn’t make you a bad person. If your best friend calls in emotional distress, of course you should go and support them. However, if they’re just bored and want to go shopping, you should feel comfortable saying no. If the boss is looking for volunteers to work extra hours for an important project, saying yes could help your career. However, it’s doubtful that you’ll lose your job if you don’t join the softball team.
Your time is precious, so make sure that you are prioritizing what you spend it on. Practice saying no to nonessential things. The world will keep turning without you there.
Make a Date With Yourself
Now that you’ve created a little space in your schedule, it’s time to lock some of it in for yourself. Set aside an hour or two each week just for you. Don’t make it optional. Put it in your calendar. Make arrangements with a partner, friends, or family members for childcare if you need to. Treat this time with as much respect as you would if it were a work or social commitment.
What should you do on your date? Anything you want — two hours is long enough to go catch that movie that you’ve been dying to see, take a big chunk out of a good book, sign up for a class you’re interested in or just take the longest and most luxurious bath of all time. Do something that excites you, relaxes you or brings you joy. The only rule is that whatever you do should be for you, not anyone else.
Make Sleep Mandatory
Taking care of your physical and emotional needs is key to self-care, but when you’re just learning to prioritize yourself, it can seem overwhelming. Start with sleep. You can add in exercise, food plans, yoga or meditation later, but getting a good night’s sleep is what will make all those other things achievable.
Sleep is essential to success in all areas of your life. It affects your emotional and physical well-being. It makes you a better employee, partner, parent and friend. It will reduce your stress, increase your resilience and positively affect your mood. A good night’s sleep is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
Healthline.com says that setting up a regular sleep schedule is the most important way to get better sleep. That means choosing a bedtime that you will adhere to consistently, and committing to a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night. It is also helpful to set yourself up for sleep success by making the hour before bed as relaxing as possible and avoiding the blue light of digital screens.
Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. Don’t you deserve the same care and kindness you give everyone else? Try flipping the script now and then and treating yourself as well as you treat those around you. Not only do you deserve it, but you’ll find that you have more to give others when you give something to yourself.
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