It is easy to get bogged down in the craziness of everyday life and push your own needs aside. When you do this, not only do you suffer, but you are not your best for everyone else around you. You will actually be a better human if you put yourself first – so start doing these 25 things:
1. Take time to go inward. You might tell yourself, oh, I don’t have time to meditate, or journal, or whatever else it is that calms your mind and allows you to reflect. Stop making excuses and start setting aside a piece of your day for mental health.
2. Listen to your body. You, like practically everyone else, probably don’t listen to your body like you should. Only by tuning in to how you feel moment-to-moment can you truly take care of yourself.
3. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. That may sound extreme, but that’s the point. Once you grant yourself the permission to refuse to do those things that don’t feel right to you, you also learn the difference between something that is merely inconvenient and something that is not true to who you are.
4. Stop saying “yes” to everyone. It’ll change your life. When you take control of your decisions instead of letting others navigate your way for you, you take back your power and become happier.
5. Breathe. Seriously. Just breathe. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed or scared, stop and mindfully slow your breath. It’ll slow your heart rate and calm your brain, and it literally only takes a couple of minutes.
6. Nourish your body. Most of us are not nearly mindful enough about what we are putting into our bodies, whether that be food, water, beverages, drugs, alcohol, what have you. There is a direct connection between the way you feel and what you are taking in. Pay attention to it and be good to yourself.
7. Nourish your mind. Notice your thoughts and where they take you. Is it in a positive or a negative direction? If it’s negative, what can you do to make a change? It’ll make a huge difference for your entire state of being.
8. Trust your instincts. They’re there for a reason. If your gut tells you that something isn’t right for you, then take a step back and listen. If you disregard your own instincts, you’re not making yourself a priority.
9. If you need rest, than rest. It’s tempting to keep pushing yourself – we all want to be superheros these days, and society tells us that’s the way to go. Unfortunately, that’s not the real story. If you make yourself your first priority, sometimes that means you allow yourself a break.
10. If you need physical activity, schedule it. Do. Not. Make. Excuses. Not. To. Exercise! This is such a huge issue – no one ever thinks that their physical health should be prioritized over the other things they have to do. If you feel guilty, remind yourself that if you aren’t in your best health and shape, you can’t be your best for others anyway.
11. Don’t push aside your needs for the needs of others. Being selfish isn’t a bad thing. It has such a negative connotation, but don’t be afraid of owning your needs and making sure they are met. That’s the only way you can truly prioritize your happiness.
12. Know that you are enough. It’s true. You are enough exactly as you are. Instead of trying to be more, take time to sit and just be with yourself. Appreciate your individuality. Celebrate it.
13. Indulge yourself – whatever that means to you. Take time to do whatever you need to do to feel good. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or expensive, but it does have to make you happy. That’s the only requirement.
14. Be okay asking for help. There is no shame in needing the assistance of others once in a while – and you’ll be surprised how ready people are to give it. There is joy in helping others and there can be joy in receiving that help as well.
15. Think before you answer. Speak with thought and presence and it can save you a lot of grief in the long run. Before you agree to something or offer assistance, first make sure it’s coming from an authentic place. Otherwise you’ll end up resenting your own choice.
16. Reflect on what you do. The same goes for actions – think before you do things. This is a good way to learn more about yourself and what you need and want. You can’t prioritize yourself if you don’t understand yourself.
17. Open up and be kind. This sounds counterintuitive, but in fact by opening up to others and spreading kindness throughout the world you are putting yourself first. You are making the choice to share the wonderful person you are in an authentic manner – and that’s very healthy.
18. Do not allow others into your head. If you do not have a strong sense of self, it is easy to let others sway you or make you feel bad about yourself and your choices. Make your mental health your priority – do not let them get to you.
19. Know that someone else’s reaction is not about you. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the realization that you cannot control how others react to you. When you let go of this responsibility, it allows you to truly be who you are without fear or anxiety.
20. Spend your money how you want. Don’t let anyone else tell you what to do with your earnings. If you want to save it all, do that. If you want to spend it all on experiences, do that. If you want to splurge once in a while – well, you get it.
21. Be honest about your limits. It’s okay to have boundaries! It’s actually really healthy, believe it or not! Don’t overwork yourself, overshare yourself with others, or exhaust yourself trying to make everyone happy. Not worth it.
22. Ask for what you want and need. Again, you’d be surprised what you can achieve simply by being honest, direct, and open. It never hurts to ask, and sometimes you might actually get what you want by doing so.
23. Believe in yourself. Yes, easier said than done. You can start by making it a priority to work on getting to a place where you truly do believe in yourself. Every little step in the right direction helps.
24. Get rid of anyone who brings negativity to your life. It can be difficult to remove people from your world, but it has to be done. It’s best for everyone in the long run. You don’t need their bad energy and they need a wake up call.
25. Speak positively to yourself. Your self-talk is incredibly important. You can indeed change the patterns and make them positive instead of negative. It just takes some time and effort. You can’t help yourself if you’re speaking cruelly to yourself.
26. Dance like no one is watching. Literally. Give yourself the permission to be exactly who you are all the time and stop caring what other people think of you. Be free and open and alive! This makes you the priority instead of their opinions.
27. Try everything you’ve always wanted to do. Instead of telling yourself you can’t do something – or listening to those who whisper doubt into your ear – just go on and try it. Don’t even think about it – just do it. You are capable of far more than you could ever know.
28. Venture out alone. Get out of your comfort zone if you always do everything with other people. When you go on solo adventures, you give yourself permission to do everything exactly how you want to do it. It’s empowering and lets you figure out what you really enjoy.
29. Don’t allow others to put their agenda on you. If you let yourself get caught up in the drama or gossip of others, you are not putting your needs first. You are letting them sway you, so don’t do it. Stay positive and stay focused on what’s important.
30. Spread love everywhere. Maybe it sounds silly, but when was the last time you gave love to someone just for the sake of doing so? Happiness begets happiness. When you are making yourself a priority, your light shines through you – share the joy!
Read more: thoughtcatalog.com