How do you put yourself first?

How does taking time for yourself help make you happier?

These are the current “Life Well Lived” Getting Happy questions?

WOW – these are big ones.

Questions that, unlike Bubba above who only lives in the moment, I don’t think I’ve even mastered the answer to yet – though I try.

I absolutely do know that if I do take care of myself and put myself first sometimes, it is then easier to take care of and be there for others – especially family.

Is it just me or are guys much better at this than us women are? Is it because we’re moms? nurturers?

I really don’t believe I’m the only one that struggles with this. Even though we know that putting ourselves first, especially in keeping ourselves healthy and fit is important to the other family members in our life, it can be so easy to just give and give and give until we…well…crack!

For me, I’ve found that simply DECLARING my intention – out loud – helps me own my choices and stick to them which then brings about support from those around me that truly care about me.

One example I can think of where I put myself first, for my own reasons, has to do with my life following my father’s death. He  lived most of his life with heart disease – having his first quadruple bypass at the much too young age of 32. He lived with a very reduced quality of life after this. After he passed away, I felt this intense need to do something. Something HUGE that would not only be my way of signifying what he meant to me, but also something that would give me the space and place to put the emotion and grief and sorrow I was feeling overwhelmed with. These emotions were consuming and I needed to do something to take care of myself before these emotions took over my life.

I chose running a marathon and raising money for the American Heart Association in his name.

For all the athletes out there, this may not sound profound, but, trust me, I am not this person. I am  not a runner or marathoner or athlete in any sense of the word. I’m not even sure how it came about that I chose this, but I’m grateful that I listened to my own heart and made this choice.

I knew there would be lots of “time” needed to complete the training for this marathon. I knew that this training was going to take away from the time I spent “doing for others” in my life. Somehow, after I declared my intention, it all seemed to work out.

I trained for 9 months. I followed a training program and really stuck to it. I went out on my training runs – and, yes, I did walk quite a bit and cry quite a bit – but I got my miles in. The time I spent training gave me the time I needed for myself – alone to grieve, to pray and to come to terms with this hole in my heart and in my life.

I think it was this TIME by myself and for myself that I needed more than anything, and training for a marathon was my way to take it. A justified excuse.

I’m not sure that even up until the moment of my writing this down here anyone knows this is what the training and then running the marathon was about for me.

It was a very healing time. A very ME time.

It was also a time of bringing fitness and health to the forefront of my life.

I finished the marathon, but I’m still not an “athlete” in any sense of the word. I said I would run it, I took the time I needed to accomplish the task and I completed it – all for me. I put myself first and in doing so I took care of myself and got through a very emotional time.

I’m still not a “pro” at putting myself first, but I do know that when I do, in any way, even declaring “I’m going to yoga class today” or stating “I’m becoming a vegan”, etc. I feel more connected to myself bringing more happiness, wholeness and peace into my life.

So, are you a pro at putting yourself first when you need to? If so, please share your tips below and on the BlogHer Life Well Lived main post here.

While you’re there, you can also enter to win the current Life Well Lived Sweepstakes here – and possibly win a Kindle Fire.


Be Happy!