Is putting yourself first selfish? Not at all. It's common to see this idea that you need to push hard, do more, rest less and inevitably you burn out. I see it happen often. I actually have been there myself. And at 28 years old, burnout is a real thing that many are facing but not speaking up about enough.
From experience, burnout happens at the worst times. You feel like you are doing as much as you can yet nothing is actually happening or going in your favor. Why is it that putting ourselves, our health, our wellness, our mindset, our nutrition first is looked down upon? If you want to make the most out of your life, you need to learn to help yourself before you can go out and help others. You can get exactly what you want out of this life, but you have to learn how to prioritize. You have to let go of things that are unnecessarily draining you. You have to make time for you. You have to learn how to say no.
The first step and best advice I got was to get rid of all the negativity in my life. This meant that I had to really go through my "friends" and cut off some of the social media accounts I had to be able to not play the comparison game. Do you find yourself looking at IG or Facebook and you automatically get pissed off from a post from an acquaintance? I was getting frustrated and mad for no reason so I took action and deleted it. Guess what? I felt free. If you start to look at your social media and you can't tell me why you are following them, maybe it doesn't deserve your attention after all.
Next is prioritize your sleep. If you are highly stressed and NOT getting enough sleep, you are spinning your wheels in the sand and digging a deeper hole. I found that over the past few months that I started to prioritize my sleep to get 8 hours a night. This means I changed my training times to the afternoons and had a strict bed time. What happened? My body started responding to my training and nutrition. Who would have thought, right? My body was happy and thankful for the sleep so it rewarded me by losing a few pounds and having more energy to do what I love. The hardest part is understanding that training is easy, stepping back and resting is hard.
Self care, rest and recovery is important. Your body doesn’t care where stress comes from whether it’s work, a fight with your significant other, or a one-rep max back squat attempt, it processes all of it the same. Stress is stress.Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. The danger is in continuing like you’re invincible. How do I know this? Well I didn't pay attention to my body and got hurt. Guess what, I HAD to rest then. Toughness isn’t always about “sucking it up” or juggling 100 different things. It takes more fortitude to decide to shut your email off at 10 p.m. or take a five-minute walk outside your office to decompress. I don’t care if you’re a parent, juggling multiple jobs or stuck on overnight shift work. Set boundaries and stick to them.
Focus on your nutrition. That is also self care. If there’s one single thing responsible for making us sick and tired, it’s our food. If you’re too busy to go shopping and to cook healthy food you can either complain about it or do something about it. There’s a million healthy alternatives that can be delivered right to your door or learn to meal prep for the week.It’s expensive to eat healthy, I know. But constantly eating cheap processed food means you’ll just pay down the line. Again, ask yourself: What are you worth? What is your body worth? Nothing changes if nothing changes. You are the first line of your own defense against your stress levels.
Learn to shut it down, decompress, and chill!