March 22, 2017

Five Tips For Putting Yourself First When The Going Gets Tough

Five tips for putting yourself first

Putting Yourself First During Challenging Times

I’m really grateful for the slow shift that seems to have happened from the Never Stop Hustling mentality to Hey…Take Some Time For You. Thank goodness and about time!

No one is capable of giving one hundred percent, twenty four seven. You might be able to manage the pace for a short while but you won’t be able to keep it up without some respite.

I know the Don’t Stop, Keep Going mentality exists in businesses large and small. Just as it’s natural to want to give it your all when your business is just you, it’s equally understandable that in times where practically every industry is making cuts left right and centre, the Give Me More Effort For Less mantra is rife in just about every office I know.

I consider myself lucky that when I worked in Finance, my own boss was pretty clear where she stood on that whole work life balance thing (it was the right side!), but that attitude seems harder to come by these days.

I’m willing to stay at my computer until
I can’t see straight from tiredness…

And I’ve said it before, I’m guilty of being my own worst boss. What makes the difference is that work is now a passion project so I’m perfectly willing to stay at my computer until I can’t see straight from tiredness.

But without time out, things start to slip. Both on the home and the work front. The act of juggling it all becomes harder and things get missed. Everything feels like wading through treacle and yet do we stop?

No. Still we plod on until we hit the wall. And then slide down it.

A wise person said to to me at the end of last year something along the lines of “If you want to come out fighting from your corner to face what’s next, can you really do that if you’re not rested. You won’t be prepared.”

I think I may have re-ordered her exact words but you get my drift!

Sevin black marble soap

I recently received a care package gift from Hero and a) I loved how very monochrome it was (Thanks Guys!), and b) it was exactly that – a care package.

It wasn’t just the thoughtful bath time gift that contained the softest Sevin London face cloth EVER but the words that came with it on a card:

5 Tips To Help You.

The Hero teamed summed up perfectly five things that I’ve been trying to do more of lately so I thought I’d share their list with you.

And expand a little on the valuable and sometimes lost art of putting yourself first…

Give Yourself Permission To Say No

A no-brainer but, oh boy so very hard to put into action. You’d think being your own boss would mean you can say No more often but…No. Somehow or other you find yourself bending over backwards even more. When you really don’t have the time or energy to do so.

So I’m training myself with this one. When I’ve block booked a week out just to try and catch up on the work front, I will be saying No to requests for a meeting, an offer of a coffee and catch up or a plea to squeeze something in at the last minute.

I’ll suggest another time or an alternative work around but I refuse to end up feeling cr*p anymore because I still haven’t achieved what I really wanted and needed to achieve. I’ve come to realise that being a people pleaser can leave you feeling like you’re constantly shortchanging yourself.

Self care tips-3

Self care tips-4

Make A List Of Your Achievements Today

Laura mentioned this in our chat here and at first I kind of let it wash over me. Until the other day when Mr OS came in and asked how my day had gone.

The first thing I came back with was in the negative. I didn’t achieve what I’d set out to do so the day felt wasted… with a lot of faffing about.

When I actually thought about all things that did get done whilst I was in faffing mode, they were all valid, couldn’t be put off any longer and did actually help towards the bigger picture of where I needed to be by the end of the week.

I just wasn’t willing to give myself credit because they weren’t part of the master plan for that day. How silly is that?

To this I would add that I personally do gain a lot from planning out a work day and trying really hard to concentrate on one task at a time. On the days when it DOES go to plan, I’m way more productive. Especially when I say No more often too!


Get A Full Night’s Sleep – Those Things Can Wait

The older I get and the more challenges life throws at me, I’ve come to realise that if I don’t get enough sleep then I AM A MONSTER. Simple as that.

Another wise person and I can’t remember who, once told me that everything looks better after a night between the sheets. It’s so true. What seems insurmountable in the depths of tiredness looks like it might just be doable after a good nights sleep.

After reaching a personal low point last week, I realised that trying to numb the pain with red wine of an evening was not the answer. Limiting the Merlot intake and rediscovering more quality sleep has left me feeling better equipped to face up to and tackle the issues.

And if I want to go to bed early with a cup of (caffeinated) tea and a good book then the other stuff can (and does) wait until tomorrow.


Go Outside – Move Your Body

An obvious one and yet how many times do I hear myself say I don’t have the time? Too many to mention.

Luckily, the dog and her ability to give me the “Take me for a walk NOW!” eyes does help to force the issue somewhat.

But I could still do better. So its baby steps for now. Thursday mornings first thing are for Pilates and as well as the main dog walk, I’m trying to incorporate a mid-afternoon break most days.

A walk around the village with enough time to listen to a podcast really helps. That and a dance around the kitchen with the dog whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

All good. Except for when the postman catches me…


Test pic-1

Indulge In Your Sensitive Side

Hhmmm…I wasn’t quite sure how I would interpret this one. After some thought I took it to mean the need for self nurture and being more aware of my mood and feelings.

So often the mantra of plodding on means we don’t pay any attention whatsoever about the bad feeling that’s starting to creep in. Longer term this isn’t a good move for me.

Essentially, I’m an annoyingly positive,
up beat person…

I’ve stopped trying to push away the down moments and instead face them head on, leaning into them a bit more. It makes coming back up the other side a little easier somehow.

Essentially, I’m an annoyingly positive, up beat person with a glass half full outlook. But lately, with so many dips and bumps in the road that seem harder to deal with, I’m facing up to the fact that there may be hormones of the almost 48 year old kind at play here.

Could it be pre-menopause? Maybe. So I’ve been talking to friends of a similar age about these things and in doing so, I’ve realised we’re all going through similar things but we don’t talk about it enough!

Maybe I got Hero’s “Indulge Your Sensitive Side” thing wrong and its actually referring to just how soft I like my cashmere? That one I DO have the answers to…


So there you have just a few thoughts and practical ideas on putting yourself first when times are challenging.

It seems I’m not alone. As well as Hero coming up with their list, Monica has written a brilliant and practical post here in a similar vein about how to handle those manically busy times at work.

And Ella from Coco’s Tea Party shared how she’s been dealing with a challenging period too.

I take from that that everyone feels the pressure from time to time but the good thing is that we’re all trying harder to put ourselves first. Which is never a bad thing.

If you’re ever in doubt as to why you should, think about the oxygen mask on an plane analogy. You need to get yours on first so you can help those around you.

What do you do to make sure you get though the tougher times unscathed?

Style Credits

Sevin London Black Marble Soap c/o Hero | Marble Tray – (old) Oliver Bonas : similar here | Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner | Sevin London Face Cloth c/o Hero | Looped Ring – COS | Metal Bangle – COS | Cleanser – Eve Lom |    The Ritual Of Light Shower Foam – Rituals c/o | Marble Board – The White Company


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