The Importance of Looking After Yourself

Sometimes in life priorities can get blurred. It happens to all of us, and in my experience especially to those with mental health problems. I have a tendency to put other people’s needs and happiness before my own, but recently I have realised that it’s OK to say no to other people and focus on what I need.

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Your mental health is a priority

I have been offered a job that would help me gain more understanding and experience in my chosen field and help progress my career, but I’m scared to take it. I’ve minimised my feelings and told myself that I need to keep moving forward, that the fact the job will be challenging is a good thing – it will help me grow and learn. What I haven’t considered is whether the job will be challenging in a good way or whether it has the possibility to undo progress.

Knowing yourself and your limits is just as important for growth and well-being as it is for maintaining mental health. Being aware of yourself means that you won’t put yourself in situations that have the ability to overwhelm you. It’s OK to say no to something that doesn’t feel right for you right now.

Your happiness is a priority

I am one of those people who derives happiness from the happiness of others. A smile and a laugh is infectious, so being around happy people lightens my mood. Yet if someone that is usually happy becomes down or sad I make it my mission to fix the problem, putting on hold my happiness or good mood so as not to ‘rub it in their face’.

Happiness can be fleeting and life can be short so making the most of enjoying yourself when you can is a priority. Sure thing, try to cheer up your friend – it’s a natural response – but don’t put your emotions on hold while you do, you’re allowed to be happy even if other people aren’t.

Your self-care is a priority

I have several friends who turn to me for comfort and advice when things get hard. It’s a feeling I cherish, they are people I love and I want to help them out but sometimes I just have to say no. It’s the hardest thing for me to do. It goes against my nature to put my own needs before those of someone else that I care about, but recently I have learned that sometimes I have to.

The old addage ” you can’t take care of others if you’re not well yourself” is something we all need to consider. There are proven cases of carer burn-out when they don’t take time to focus on themselves. It’s not selfish to say ‘I can’t help right now I need to take care of myself’.

Remember you are a priority too.

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