One of the most harmful patterns we find ourselves falling into is prioritizing everything and everyone above ourselves and our needs. We understandably have responsibilities and obligations we need to attend to. We have careers we’re passionate about and families we love and care about. We have people depending on us and financial obligations we can’t neglect. The key is to figure out how to factor ourselves into our busy schedules, to make ourselves an equally important part of the equation. We don’t want to sacrifice ourselves as we’re keeping up with the many demands of our lives.
Learning to prioritize ourselves is about shifting the perspective we hold about ourselves. Somewhere along the way, we absorbed the notion that we aren’t important, that we don’t matter. Our self-care recedes further and further down our to-do list. Our spiritual practice gets completely abandoned. We forget what it is we love to do. We can’t remember when we last made time for fun, relaxation or enjoyment. As a result, our mental and emotional health deteriorate because we’re not focusing on total wellness. We’re pushing ourselves to juggle the various demands on our plate. We’re trying to do too much, with not enough help. We often push ourselves to the point of exhaustion. Our energy gets totally depleted, and we can burn out, collapse and experience breakdowns in our mental, emotional and/or physical health.
To change our mentality about prioritizing ourselves, we have to start telling ourselves that we do matter, that we are important. Our health and our well-being have to come first. When we don’t prioritize ourselves, we diminish our ability to care for the other people in our lives. We can only give to others in proportion to how much we give to ourselves. If we’re running on empty, we can’t sustain our energetic output. We have to find better balance.
The process of prioritizing ourselves might sound daunting and overwhelming, even impossible. It doesn’t mean suddenly shirking your responsibilities or escaping your regular life. It means carving out a little time here and there to give yourself some much needed energetic and spiritual replenishment. It means starting a regular meditation, gratitude or journaling practice. It means giving yourself time at the end of the day to take a hot bath or read a novel. It also means asking for help when before you might have been resistant to accepting other people’s support. Maybe a family member can watch the kids for a couple days. Maybe there are some tasks you can delegate to other people. Maybe you can take a personal day from work.
Find ways to show yourself that you matter. Learn to prioritize yourself, and everything else in your life will benefit. You’ll be happier and healthier and will therefore have more energy to keep giving.
At The Beach House, our mission is to provide the resources and environments that help people recover from their addiction and stay on the path of sobriety. Call or Text (310) 564-2761 today for more information.