Most people are more selfless rather than selfish. It’s human nature to be kind and to put other people’s needs before your own. But sometimes, that can cause others to take advantage of your kindness despite your good intentions. When you keep being oblivious and allow this to keep happening, you may lose yourself in the process.
This dog-eat-dog world needs more acts of altruism, especially since it can be cutthroat and cruel most of the time. But it doesn’t have to come from you alone. If you keep giving yourself to everyone who needs help without getting anything in return, you’ll only burn yourself out.
If you’ve been at the service of everyone around you all your life, then it’s high time to start prioritizing your own needs. People won’t throw stones at you for choosing yourself, specifically because it would be hypocritical of them to do so. You must look out for yourself just like you do for other people.
Understandably, shifting from focusing on others to focusing on yourself can be a difficult transition. You may start to feel selfish for choosing to put yourself first, but it’s perfectly okay to be selfish from time to time. Just as long as you’re not deliberately hurting anyone when you do. And here’s how you can do that:
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Mental Health Days
Since you’re so used to putting other people’s needs before your own, you’re likely the same when it comes to working. You might have a hard time saying no to your co-workers when they ask for your help, even if it means overextending yourself just to make it happen. While helping others is good, this might cause you to burn yourself out from the stress.
Aside from making sure that you’re physically healthy, you must also ensure that your mental health isn’t suffering. And if you ever feel like you’re on the cusp of a breakdown, don’t be afraid to take a mental health day from work. This is the perfect time to use your sick leave and vacation days.
Mental health days are important to stay sane. While it’s good that you’re a responsible worker who doesn’t want to miss out on work, your company will manage to get by without you for one or two days. So, take this time to allow your mind to breathe away from your responsibilities and just relax.
Invest in Taking Care of Your Well-being
When you have family members depending on you for their day-to-day living expenses, it can be hard for you to spend money on yourself. You might feel guilty for spending your money on things that you only you can enjoy, such as eating out on your own or buying yourself a nice present.
But you must understand that it’s your hard-earned money and therefore, you should be allowed to spend it however you want. If you want to buy yourself a massage chair because your body feels exhausted after a long day at work, then you should be able to make that purchase. Plus, think of all the leg massage benefits you can enjoy once you do.
This isn’t to say that you should forget about your responsibilities at home and recklessly spend your money on useless things. You can be practical and still be able to buy yourself what you want without feeling guilty about it. At least this way, you won’t feel burdened about the responsibilities weighing on your shoulders.
Allow Yourself to Heal in Nature Once in a While
Working a nine-to-five job isn’t the dream, but it’s what pays the bills. You spend all day sitting in front of your computer to accomplish your tasks. You stand up only for quick breaks or lunch. This could mean that not only are your eyes exposed to too much screen time but also that you’re living a sedentary lifestyle.
When you come home from work, you either relax by watching television or use your phone until well into the night, only to repeat the same routine the next day. And on weekends, instead of heading out to get some sunlight, you would rather spend all day in bed to make up for the rest you didn’t get during the week.
Although it’s yet to be acknowledged as a medical condition, nature deficit disorder (NDD) is as real as any condition. It states that people are spending less time in the natural world because of technology, causing them to develop anxiety, depression, or anti-social behaviors.
But even if the effects aren’t as severe as developing a mental health condition, it could still affect people’s moods and self-esteem. So the next time you can spend some healing time in nature, take it. Breathe in the fresh air or touch some grass. Allow nature to heal you in ways that technology simply can’t.
After you prioritize yourself and take care of your needs, you can go back to being selfless, but in moderation. You can’t spread yourself too thin because you won’t be able to help other people that way. So before you go solving other people’s problems and being everybody’s savior, be your own first.