I want to improve my health but I can’t seem to prioritize myself. Listen in for some reasons and what to do about it.

By: Tricia

I want to spend some time talking about a topic that was very hard for me to wrap my head around when I was going through a particularity difficult time filled with a series of hardships and I finally decided to ask myself the question of why I wasn’t making myself a priority.
During this time, my life was so different than how I imagined it would be. I
didn’t recognize who I was anymore. I was now a woman who was a shell of the person I once was. I felt like I was losing my identity. This message was further imprinted on my brain when I went to my son’s first doctor’s appointment. When the receptionist asked me for a name, I mistakenly gave her my own name and not my son’s name. She gently notified me that from that moment on, when I came to that office, I was to use my son’s name. And just like that – my identity had changed. I was now to be referred to as someone’s mom. In addition to being a new mom, I was working so hard at work and at home trying to survive. Self-prioritization came second to surviving and I was barely hanging on.
Eventually, I got to a point when I felt completely lost and alone that I had no other out except to start making myself a priority again.
We all go through times in our life when we no longer feel as important as we once felt. Whether it’s because you are now a parent, are taking care of an aging parent, are older or look different than you used to look. You may feel like you have stopped prioritizing yourself too. Maybe it’s because of the demands of work or home life or you are in the midst of a crisis, or because of a life changing illness or
Let’s spend some time today talking about why you are not prioritizing yourself and what you can do to change that.
We feel selfish putting ourselves first, so we put ourselves last
Many of us were raised to believe that others demand is more important than our own. We take care of others first and ignore our own desires and needs. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The most selfish thing you can do is to NOT take care of yourself or fail to prioritize yourself. How you fulfill your highest potential if you are burnt out, tired, and stressed out. If you have kids, you are teaching them to do the same thing – to not make themselves a priority, to put others first.
Taking care of yourself is the most unselfish thing you can do to restore balance in your life.
You’ve heard the phrase: You can’t fill from an empty cup!
Too much time listening to our harsh inner voice/too much negative self-talk
This may include an ongoing dialogue that plays in your mind that is full of negative messages. Examples include I am not enough, I need to be perfect, I can’t do it, or I’m not worth it.
What can we do to change this? Challenge any negative self-talk. Typically, just because you believe it doesn’t mean it’s based on any sense of reality. It may be thoughts and feelings that you have believed for so many years that it feels like reality. Another way is to treat yourself as kind as you would a friend. Talk to yourself in the kind and generous way you speak to one of your closest friends. Seek out a licensed professional to help.
Lack self-compassion
Kristen Neff, a key researcher on the topic of self-compassion defines it as this: “acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a stiff upper lip mentality, you stop to tell yourself this is really difficult right now, how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment.”
Maybe we feel like we don’t know how to do it, or we see it as a weakness. Instead, it’s easier to judge and criticize ourselves for things we don’t like or mistakes we have made.
What can we do about it? Start to believe that you are enough, just as you are. Become open to the idea that you are not perfect, because nobody is perfect. As part of that imperfection, you will make mistakes and act in ways that you may not like. We accept who we are, try NOT to fix it and embrace imperfection. The more we practice being kind to ourselves the more self-compassion we will have towards ourselves.
We have nothing else to give
We give and give to everyone but ourselves. We feel good giving and maybe we even find some comfort in that. But we need to create a balance in this giving.
We spend so much of our time working at our jobs or tending to our family that somehow, we come after all of that. But if we spend the day occupied, we are so tired at the end of the day to put any extra effort into anything – much less ourselves. You can’t fill from an empty cup!
What happens when you start to give to yourself first is typically a greater sense of self, happiness, and overall improved health as well as better relationships with partners, friends, family, and co-workers
What are some ways you can start to give back and prioritize yourself?
• Making time for yourself every single day to do whatever you want
• Getting enough exercise and/or sleep
• Laughing and doing things that make you happy and bring your joy
• Spending time with friends that remind us who we once were
• Doing something for yourself that will help you grow (learning new skill)
• Planning and prepping ahead with your meals
If you are working on prioritizing your health this year, The whole health balance blueprint is something
that can work for you.

If you in survival mode, I see you and I want to confirm that it does get better, but self-care will ultimately need to be a priority in the future to connect to your authentic self.
I’m certainly not perfect and am sometimes still struggle with this priority piece. But I take comfort in knowing that I have some structures and routine in place to make sure I prioritize myself and my health – as these are both important and non-negotiable for me.
Come find me at: Home – Tricia Stefankiewicz (triciard.com)
Instagram: Tricia Stefankiewicz Dietitian (@wholehealthempower) • Instagram photos and videos
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