5 Ways I’m Putting Myself First - Tuesday Thoughts
We are 4 months into this challenging new year and I feel like I'm slowly coming out of the fog of grief and depression. Grief, I expected.. I had a family member pass away earlier this year and it's part of the process. But the depression crept in so slowly over the past year, I didn’t even realize it.
Long story short.. my husband was hit by a drunk driver over 20 years ago. His doctors prescribed pain meds. For the past 10 years, he has battled a dependency on those pain meds. In 2017, he almost died because of all the pills he was taking and the abuse to his body. Almost dying was his wake up call and he went into treatment, came out, relapsed and then started a 12 step program for pill addicts. For the last 18 months, my husband has been faithfully practicing his 12 steps and working his recovery program. And I was/am so proud of him and happy to have my husband, my family and marriage back.. or so I thought. It seemed that the happier and stronger he became in sobriety, the more envious and bitter I became. Not towards him, but towards myself.. How could he give up a 10 year dependency on pills and yet I can't lose weight? The self-hate rhetoric had me going down a long road of shame, guilt and misery.
Turns out I have my own demons to face. For as confident as I appear to be, I really struggle with feelings of unworthiness and rejection. I give all my love, time and attention to others and try to please others in hopes of them loving me back which I take as validation. I don’t take care of myself or value myself. I've spent the entirety of marriage putting my focus on my husband, then my kids.. I never put myself first because it felt too selfish. But then I saw this quote
“If ‘putting yourself first’ sounds too selfish or too hard, try something simpler: put yourself on an equal footing with those you love and tend to.”
Watching my husband transform himself, by practicing self care, I’ve witnessed first hand how he has become a better person, father, husband and friend and I’m inspired and jealous.. He worked hard everyday.. even in the beginning, when he craved a pill to escape his feelings, he turned to his sponsor, his God, his Big Book, he leaned into his feelings, his pain, his fear and guess what.. he survived! He not only survived, but he got stronger. I understand now that I also have to do the work, and I'm resisting. It is so much easier to focus my energy on anything BUT me. But starting with this first Tuesday Thoughts post, I’m making a promise to do the work on self care. Here are 5 ways I’m putting myself first.. and this first one is a big one…
5 Ways I’m Putting Myself First
1. Closed But Still Awesome
In the beginning of my business, I had to hustle for work, often putting in 12-15 hours a day traveling to shoots, shooting and editing and the thought of taking a day off translated to not being able to put food on the table. I now realize that we are not going to starve if I take a day off.. I now understand the difference between being ‘busy’ and being productive. I am a much happier wife, mother, friend and business owner when I have a day of rest. Last year, for the first time in my business, I closed our studio on Mondays and it has been wonderful, but I realize that one day off is not enough to replenish my body, mind and soul. So starting this week, our studio will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
2. Morning Routine
I watched my husband wake every morning and open his devotional and spend 15 minutes reading and journaling. When I wake up, I jump out of bed and start my day full speed.. but in all the wrong ways.. He was filling his cup first every morning.. I was pouring my cup all over the place by feeding the animals, making breakfast, checking my emails, already feeling stressed and the day had just started.. and I would glower at him as I shuffled past the bed for the 4th time!!! and he’s still in bed.. reading!! How dare he?!?! Now, I give myself the first hour of the morning…my goal is to give myself 15 minutes of meditation, 30 minutes of exercise and 15 minutes of getting ready.. which leads me to #3
3. Girl, Wash Your Face
I work from home and I’m become somewhat of a hermit. Sure I shoot weddings every other weekend and I have 3-4 photography sessions a week, but if I don’t have a photography session, I’m not bothering with getting dressed. I mean, why wash my face or brush my teeth if I’m just sitting at the computer editing all day?! Because it’s kinda gross when you don’t.. and you feel better on the inside when you clean up on the outside!! So now I plan to nourish my skin, brush and style my hair.. Heck, maybe I’ll even paint my nails once a week..
4. Lunch Break
I am so blessed to work at home and I totally took it for granted.. Most days, I have the means to prepare a healthy lunch, sit at a table with my husband and enjoy a nice lunch break.. But I didn’t do that for years.. Instead, I would use the excuse that I was too busy to cook or to step away from the computer. What a waste of all that time and opportunity for making better choices!
5. TV Off, Music On
I LOVE music.. going to concerts and listening to music replenishes my soul. My husband and I both noticed that when we turn the music on rather the tv, we smile and dance more, we’re more productive and our mood is lifted. We’ve had a great time exploring new sounds and artists and we’ve even been caught dancing to music under the moonlight outside a few times!
I found this excerpt from Mission.org and this is where I’ll end my post today.
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean being selfish, and self-love is not an excuse for poor behavior or bad habits. Self love is not a way to escape accountability.
“Like anyone you love, you have to learn to respect yourself and that means becoming a person you’re proud of — one who holds themselves to commitments, shows up when they say they will and takes the needs of others into consideration. Self-love does not mean putting yourself ahead of others without good reason.”
Self love means taking care of yourself in the long run — and doing it in a way that is loving to those we love at the same time. Loving ourselves looks the same as loving others — through actions. Over time.