put-yourself-firstThese days, it seems like there are a lot of things being written regarding the feeling of being overwhelmed, and even more so with the Holiday season upon us.

There seems to be so much more to do at this time of the year, and we often lose sight of what really matters to us – to you specifically.  I would even be bold enough to say that it is not just at this time of the year that overwhelm takes over and our lives become a never-ending cycle of To Do’s. As women, we are known to be the care-givers – we are “supposed” to be wonder women who can take on more and more and serve the others around us.

But what about You?

Who is looking after You?  Are You putting yourself first? I doubt it.

And just how the heck are you supposed to do that? How do you put yourself first when there are so many other people vying for your attention? The “need to please” tends to have us putting our own needs on the back burner – after all, who has time to look after themselves when there is so much else going on and other people who need us? My day is already jam packed and now you want me to put myself first? Who has time for that?  Like Really?

I get it. It is not easy for sure, but here is what I am learning about what happens when I put myself first.

When I do good things for myself, I am in a much better place to help and do things, both for other people and for the tasks at hand – like work and chores and whatever else comes to mind.

When my cup is full – when I have done good things for myself first – it enables me to “do unto others” in a better way. Here is the irony.  The first part of that saying “Do unto others as you would do unto yourself” should be reversed.

Do unto yourself as you would do unto others – that is how I would re-write it. It makes more sense to me.  If I look after me first, then I am better equipped to tackle the other things I need to do in my life. Imagine if you put yourself first and as a result you felt amazing because you did something just for you. Doing this first would likely make you feel more enabled to do other things for other people, without feeling the drain of only doing stuff for the people around you while you watch your life – your goals, your needs – pass you by, because there is no time to focus on You.

How does this help me? It puts me back in charge, and – here is the kicker – it also enables me to sort through the things I feel that must be done, versus the feeling like I need to do Everything.

It helps me prioritize and say No to the things that are not in alignment with who I am or the person I want to be.

We all have those invites that come in – to do more stuff – more parties, more lessons, more work, more people pleasing, more stress, and frankly, it is exhausting. And likely, there is a bunch of stuff that you are lined up for that you really don’t want to do.

So why are you doing it?

I bet you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings… or you don’t want someone to judge you for not doing whatever it is they want you to do. (see my post on What will people think? for more insight on that topic).

But what about You?  If you do what you really don’t want to do, how will you feel about that? Will you be emotionally drained? Exhausted? Not present? Resentful? Annoyed? Stressed?

Ya, that feels awesome doesn’t it?

So here is my suggestion to You – the Overwhelmed Gal Who Has Way Too Much on Her Plate.

Start to say No to stuff that you don’t want to do – stuff that is not in alignment with who you are and who you want to be for yourself.  Start to say Yes to putting yourself first.

I know… its hard, but let me ask you this. What is harder on you? Saying Yes to something that you would only do because you feel like you HAVE to do it, which will lead you to feel all of those feelings mentioned above? Or, saying No to doing something, enabling you to focus on what really fills you up, enabling you to be in control of what you want in life? Put yourself first in the equation, rather than last.

What a concept! 

And another thing – while I am on a roll – What about asking for Help with the things we have on our plate? Someone else to do a chore for you, so you can do something good for yourself? Sharing the Load so to speak. How about that?

The point that I am trying to make here is this. If you are not able to get in touch with what You need in your life, your life, as it is, will pass you by. Each day will look like the next and at the end of a week, month, year, years… you will be asking yourself why each year has looked the same. What do you have to show for it? What did you accomplish for you?

I read something on one of the social media platforms that stopped me in my tracks.

Don’t get to the age of 75 and look back on your life and see that every year was the same.

Ouch.  One year blurring into the next. I don’t want that. Do you?

Here is what I think. If we are all allowing Overwhelm to be the star in the feature film that is our life, then we are all missing out on what life is all about.

What matters to you? What do you want in your life? You are your own leading lady, so treat yourself that way. You matter, and when you put yourself first, then you will be in a much better place to serve others.

Fill up your cup first. Put on your air mask first.

Put Yourself first.

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