Admit it ladies, when is the last time you did something just for you? Whether you made a special meal, or bought a beautiful dress you saw in the window, what have you done to invest in yourself?
Let’s face it, many of us have a bad habit of prioritizing everyone and everything else above ourselves. As moms, wives, sisters, daughters, neighbors, friends, employees and employers, we often believe we are being our best when we invest our time and energy in others.
We also battle the culturally ingrained idea that doing something solely for ourselves is a selfish act. This feeling of guilt, and the expectation that we are better if we do things for others, often leaves us emotionally, physically and mentally depleted.
Not only are we caught in a vicious cycle of guilt and over-commitment, we find that when it’s time to follow through with promises we’ve made to ourselves, like diet and exercise, we often don’t have the stamina to carry out our own goals.
Fitness and personal worth get tossed out the window, and ultimately, our self-esteem suffers.
According to Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, a person with more self esteem has an easier time with diet and exercise. That may be because they value themselves as much as they value others, which reinforces positive, healthy decision making.
Further, it’s been proven that the happiest people in the world are better at balancing pleasure and purpose. Those who report consistent and regular happiness in their lives know the difference between fulfilling their responsibilities to others, and allowing themselves time for enjoyment.
The message is clear – in order to be our best selves, we have to invest in ourselves. Here are a few ways you can invest in you:
- Go to the salon. This is not just about looking good, but about taking the time to set and keep an appointment where you are the person receiving the time, energy and attention of someone else. Get your hair cut, colored or styled. Have your nails manicured. Get your eyebrows waxed. Whatever it is you do, make sure it’s something that will make you feel pampered.
- Schedule your work-out time and keep it. If you consider your daily exercise an unbreakable appointment, the same way you would think of a court date, or a doctor’s visit, you are more likely to make the effort to keep that appointment. Find a time when you are regularly able to work out, and don’t let yourself give up that time unless it’s a true emergency. The more value you place on time spent on yourself, the less apologetic you will feel about taking care of you.
- Put some lipstick on. Dolly Parton is rumored to have said that the only way she’d be caught dead without makeup on was if she was, in fact, dead. Here’s the thing about putting lipstick on, or any other makeup for that matter, it means you took the time to make yourself feel good about you. Now, you may not need lipstick to feel lovely, and that’s alright. The message isn’t necessarily about cosmetics, but more about making the effort, each and every day, to make yourself feel beautiful, whatever that means for you.
- Have a “just for you” moment, each day. Savor a piece of dark chocolate, listen to your favorite song, buy your favorite bottle of wine, dance in your living room, call a friend, or find another way to give yourself a few moments of bliss. Each day can be something new, but every morning when you wake up, you will have the determination to find your moment, and make yourself and your happiness, a priority.
- Say no whenever you need to. This is a counter-intuitive act for many women, because we often feel ordained to care for others. The truth is, when we over commit ourselves, we leave little to no room for our own needs. We must be honest about what we can and can’t do for others, and learn to say no when our to-do lists are already too full.
There are countless other ways that we can invest in ourselves, and make our lives, and our fitness goals a priority. Once we recognize the deficit, it’s up to us to replenish ourselves by actively choosing to make ourselves feel valued, important and worthy. Remember, if we don’t value ourselves, others won’t either.