Loren Lahav

Put Yourself First

“Self-care” has become a buzzword in the past few years, with more and more people realizing that they need to take time out from their busy schedules and nurture their minds and bodies.

But while more people have adopted self-care routines, others criticize the idea, saying that it’s self-indulgent and just a way for spas and luxury beauty companies to sell more products.

Self-care is not selfish, and it does not require purchasing expensive bath products—or purchasing anything, for that matter. It’s simply taking the time to fill yourself up, whether that means taking a walk, meditating or dancing around your bedroom in your underwear (hey, whatever works)!

In other words, it’s putting yourself first. I know, as a mother and partner I understand how difficult that can be sometimes. We’re programmed to put ourselves last and take care of everyone else first. But where does that leave us? Exhausted and empty—with nothing left to give.

Think about it. You know those days when you’re just running around trying to make everyone else happy? And then your child or your partner asks you to do one more thing … and you SNAP? That’s what happens when you neglect yourself. You reach the end of your rope—and then it breaks.

But when you put yourself first, you have more to offer the world. You are not only able to help others, but you are happy to help. You become a better mother, partner, friend and business associate.

I once thought that putting myself first was selfish. When I took time away from my daughter to get a manicure, I was wracked with guilt, worried that I should be spending the time with her.

But then I noticed how I felt when I returned home. I felt like I instantly had more to share with her. Since then, I make it a priority to put myself first and perform the rituals that make me feel good.

The Delaney sisters wrote about their mother’s self-care routine in their book “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years.” As they wrote in their book, when Mama sat in a certain place in their house, it was “her time.” This space had a desk with a bible on it, and over the desk was a picture of Abraham Lincoln and one of her family. When the children saw Mama at her desk, they didn’t dare disturb her.

“Your time” can be anything you want. It can be getting a manicure or simply taking some time out in a comfortable space in your home.

So, what is one nice thing you can do to nurture yourself today and recharge your spirit? Here are some ideas to get you started …

  1.  Take a long, relaxing bath
  2.  Take 5-10 minutes to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine
  3.  Journal
  4.  Do your “I am” affirmations
  5.  Take 10 minutes to sit or lie down comfortably, close your eyes and do nothing but relax
  6.  Curl up with a favorite book or magazine
  7.  Put on a song you love and sing and dance
  8.  Spend time in your garden or buy yourself a bouquet of flowers (and take the time to smell them!)
  9.  Go for a long walk in nature
  10.  Pet, cuddle or play with your dog or cat
  11.  Take the day or afternoon off and be a tourist in your own city
  12.  Get a massage or acupuncture treatment
  13.  Get crafty. Paint, draw, cross-stitch, scrapbook, knit or just color in a coloring book
  14.  Make a dream board
  15.  Write a letter from your future self. Describe everything you’ve accomplished and everything that you’re grateful for
  16.  Write a poem or story
  17.  Redecorate an area of your house
  18.  Bake or buy your favorite dessert—and savor every bite
  19.  Get sporty. Swim, surf, play tennis, do yoga, dance or whatever else you’re into
  20.  Do Sudoku or a crossword
  21.  Order takeout from your favorite restaurant
  22.  Light some candles or put your favorite scented oil into a diffuser
  23.  Plan a vacation
  24.  Dress up in an outfit that makes you feel good and put on jewelry and heels that have been collecting dust!
  25.  Watch the sunset or stare up the stars

How will you take care of yourself today? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my “me time!” 😉