10 Ways to Put Yourself First: A Guide to Self-Care

Updated: Sep 10

With all the time and energy we spend on taking care of other people, it’s easy to forget that we need to take care of ourselves, too. Whether you’re working long hours at your job or spending countless hours in front of the computer at home, these 10 tips on how to put yourself first will help you find balance in your life and start feeling better about yourself. Sometimes, it's not easy but it's always worth it!

10 Ways to Put Yourself First: A Guide to Self-Care

1) Stop talking badly about yourself

Thinking about all the ways you're not good enough can wreak havoc on your self-esteem. Every day, millions of people scour social media and the internet in search of content they can use to tear themselves down. And, every day, they find what they are looking for.

Here are 10 ways you can put yourself first and nurture your emotional wellness instead of tearing it down.

#1 Sign up for a local activity with a friend or group of friends

#2 Let someone know when you've done something well rather than beating yourself up when you do something poorly

#3 Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing something that doesn't involve using screens or checking email. Read a book, take a walk, go for a bike ride - whatever you enjoy!

#4 Choose one word to focus on each day - this word should be something that inspires and motivates you. Maybe today's word is 'compassion' or 'courage.' Meditate on this word throughout the day until it sinks into your psyche and becomes who you are.

#5 Check out some wellness articles from The Wellness Resource Center blog so we can help put together more steps!

#6 Head over to our wellness articles page to read about other strategies for maintaining your mental health and physical wellness.

#7 Learn how to cultivate mindfulness in your life from simple self-care tips

#8 Learn how to deal with stress and anxiety by following self-care articles

#9 You might even want to try getting a free wellness assessment if you think you could benefit from it.

#10 Wellness resource is any entity that provides tools, guidance, and support for achieving optimal wellness. Resources include articles like the ones we have published here on our blog. They also include guides written by qualified professionals. There are many different types of resources available to choose from, depending on what wellness goal you are trying to achieve (e.g., managing weight) or simply feeling better about yourself (e.g., boosting confidence).

Take time out for yourself

2) Take time out for yourself

Make sure that you are taking time out for yourself. Without taking care of ourselves, we can't take care of the people around us. We often neglect ourselves while trying to take care of everyone else which isn't a good thing at all. Take some time out and relax or find a hobby if it is something you enjoy doing and make sure that you're feeling better before getting back into the fray! Self-care doesn't have to be anything drastic either.

Here are 10 tips to take time out for yourself:

•Listen to your body’s needs (sometimes self-care means eating healthier)

Exercise regularly

•Eat right

•Try new things

•Spend quality time with friends and family

•Take care of your mental health (going outside, meditation)

•Go to therapy/get professional help when needed

•Do what makes you happy (spending time in nature, making art)

•Find time for relaxation every day

Get enough sleep every night

A wellness resource is any place or activity where someone can go to feel better mentally and physically.

Have quality me time

3) Have quality me time

To have quality me time, make sure you are being intentional about what you're doing for yourself and committing. Get your hands on any great wellness articles or blog posts and read up. If reading isn't your thing, sign up for one of the many wellness classes like yoga or meditation, or get in touch with an old friend. You don't need expensive activities like manicures and dinners; all that matters is doing things that make you feel good. Even small things like wearing your favorite clothes or cooking dinner are a way to put yourself first when it's too easy to give away free time to other people. Plus, giving yourself some special attention can help set a better mood for the day.

Here are 10 tips in having quality time for yourself:

1) Wear your favorite outfit

2) Take 5 minutes for yourself at work

3) Create an evening routine

4) Enjoy some calming music before bedtime

5) Find new recipes online or use an app to learn how to cook

6) Give back by donating clothing, toiletries, toys or money from your pantry to those in need - this will allow you more space while helping others.

7) Join a weight loss program - not only will you lose weight but also be motivated to stick with healthy habits.

8) Volunteer at a local animal shelter, soup kitchen or hospital so that you can provide support to others while getting healthy support as well.

9) Read through journal entries and find moments where your thoughts were positive.

10) Learn more about wellness by attending workshops offered at fitness centers or community colleges around town.

Give yourself regular massages

4) Give yourself regular massages

Give yourself regular massages! Getting a massage or giving one is relaxing and will help you feel more centered and refreshed. Plus, giving a massage can actually be therapeutic for the masseuse. Massages are one of the best wellness tips you can give yourself. Take some time out of your day and head over to a spa where they offer massages so that you can give yourself some relief!

If you can’t afford a spa, don’t worry! You can give yourself massages with simple techniques using just your hands and some oil. Head over to YouTube and watch a few videos on how to give yourself a soothing massage. Be sure that you start off slowly so that you know what you are doing before going all out. If necessary, ask for help from your spouse or someone else who knows how to do it.

It's easy to become impatient with self-care when we try too hard. But this is your time! Enjoy the process, which will help you relax even more than the end result. So, next time you're feeling overwhelmed by life's challenges, take some time out of your day and give yourself an amazing massage.

Listen to calming music

5) Listen to calming music

Take time for yourself. Nowadays, it's really hard to not be pulled in a thousand different directions by work, family, friends, etc. Your health and well-being are at risk! Remember that if you don't take care of yourself then nobody else will do it for you. So, start today with one of these wellness tips - find some calming music that you love and listen (make sure the volume is at a level where it doesn't make you feel like the walls are closing in).

You may try yoga music from Yoga Journeys on Spotify or you may either just listen to it or follow along on YouTube. Some people even practice their morning ritual while listening to music, so they can wake up slowly without feeling pressure.

If you're having trouble finding something on your own, there are many websites out there that offer instrumental sounds that have been scientifically proven to help with relaxation and sleep. When looking for a site, check out Relaxing Music Zone which offers 60 minutes of high-quality audio files. They also have an app available if you want to download them straight onto your phone so they're always ready when needed!

Get plenty of exercise

6) Get plenty of exercise

While working towards reaching your desired level of fitness and wellness, you may be tempted to believe that the more exercise you do, the better. It's best not to push yourself too hard when it comes to exercising or any other wellness tip; take your time, set realistic goals for yourself, and never push past your physical limits.

Set a reasonable workout schedule that balances rest with a little added activity each day. You don't need intense workouts everyday—rather, a moderate amount of activity on most days is enough to keep yourself fit and healthy. Start by setting small, achievable goals (exercising one to two times per week) and gradually increase your frequency. Even something as simple as walking can make a difference!

Once you feel like you're getting in shape, give yourself permission to take a break every once in a while. Forcing yourself to work out too much will wear you down physically and mentally; remember to give yourself some downtime so that you can return to your workout routine with renewed energy.

Pamper yourself with baths and candles

7) Pamper yourself with baths and candles

Treat yourself with baths and candles. Soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts and let the heat soak into your muscles. Get out of the bath and light some candles to help you relax even more. Light some incense, listen to soothing music, make yourself a warm drink. Lie on your bed, under your comforter and just relax. Read a book, write in your journal or just take it easy.

Pamper yourself with baths and candles. Enjoy a long, luxurious bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil for relaxation. Follow up by taking a nice long shower to get all that grime off of you. (Side note: Take your time in the shower!) Afterwards, pour yourself a nice glass of wine or cup of tea before sinking into your cozy PJs (or onesie). Turn off the lights and enjoy some scented candles while listening to soft music that helps put you at ease.

Lastly, unwind with an episode of TV that has nothing but laughs or watch something heartwarming like The Office to uplift your mood after an exhausting day!

Avoid negative people

8) Avoid negative people

You may know one or two people who just bring you down with their negativity, and your life is better off without them. This also applies for friends who don't support you as well as family members who often put their own needs before yours. Ultimately, the choice is up to you. We all deserve healthy relationships that make us feel supported, loved, and cared for. And it starts with us - by putting ourselves first and making the hard decisions that our health requires of us in order to live happy lives that are fulfilled and full of potential.

Remember that while negative people can have a major impact on your mood, they can't actually hurt you - unless you let them. When these negative influences come into your life, be sure to cut them out quickly so they can't continue poisoning your mind and soul.

If you're unsure if someone has a positive influence on your life, then ask yourself: Would I rather spend time around this person or would I rather do something else?

Be mindful about how much time you want to spend around certain people and remember that there are always other options. The more we focus on how we want to live our lives instead of what other people think we should do, the happier we will be.

Spend more time outdoors

9) Spend more time outdoors

Spending time outdoors, especially in nature, has been shown to have numerous benefits. Spending time in nature decreases stress, lowers blood pressure, and decreases anxiety. Nature also boosts creativity and decreases depression while stimulating self-awareness. Plus, the beauty of the natural world can serve as a powerful tonic for the soul - it can brighten your mood and refocus your mind on what's most important for you to do next.

Even if you live in an urban area like New York City where there's no space or greenery outside of your window, take a walk with your head up high and gaze out over the rooftops rather than down at them; breathe deeply and don't be afraid to get lost! You'll find yourself taking a lot more walks (and they're good for your health too!).

If you live in or near a city, try exploring parks during lunchtime. If you're lucky enough to have some space outside of your home, spend more time there doing whatever makes you happy.

Don’t try too hard

10) Don’t try too hard

Don’t try too hard. Yes, that’s the punchline. It may seem contrary, but hear me out. Here’s the thing - if you put too much pressure on yourself (to exercise more, to get more sleep) you are bound to fail. If you try too hard, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Listen to your body, take it easy when it is telling you so and go with the flow instead of pushing against it. This is especially important in cases where sleep or rest will make a big difference (i.e., after a night of binge drinking).

And just like that...POOF! You magically got 10 steps done in one post :)

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