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how to put yourself first without feeling guilty

Take Care of Yourself Without Feeling Guilty: A Working Mama’s Guide

Have you ever flown on a commercial airplane before? If so, you may recall the phrase, “in the event of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.” The reason is simple—if you’re not breathing, you can’t help anyone else. The same principle applies to our lives as working moms. So if your time has been reduced to eating leftover bites of mac and cheese for dinner and running on five hours of mediocre sleep each day, learn how to put yourself first without feeling guilty.

Why You Should Prioritize Yourself

Let me give you the short version, mama—when you take care of yourself, you can show up as your best self for your family and career. As a result, you have more energy, patience, and focus to offer others. 

Here’s why:

The world is a better place when you are at your best. 

When you’re taking care of yourself, you’re not only benefiting from the improved mood and energy that comes with self-care. You’re also also setting an example for your family. They see that self-care is essential and learn how to do it from watching you.

It’s exhausting to prioritize others.

If you don’t prioritize yourself, you’ll eventually burn out. Sure, you can run on coffee, cold chicken nuggets, and a prayer for one day if you’re in a pinch, but eventually, you’ll run out of steam mentally and physically. In addition, your unhappiness resonates in every area of your life, from your relationships to your work performance. In short, putting yourself first is not selfish—it’s essential for a happy and fulfilling life, so keep that in mind.

You can give others the chance to grow. 

By taking care of yourself first, you’re actually giving others the chance to become more self-sufficient. However, when you’re constantly putting the needs of others over your own, they don’t have the opportunity to learn how to take care of themselves. This can lead to codependency and prevent them from becoming independent, well-rounded adults.

How to Put Yourself First Without Feeling Guilty in 6 Steps

Now that we’ve gone over some of the advantages of prioritizing yourself let me share some ways to do it guilt-free.

Start by exploring your feelings of guilt and negative emotions. 

It’s no secret that women in our society are taught that it’s selfish to prioritize our own needs. Depending on your unique experiences and background, you may have been raised to believe that your children, partner, or career deserve the bulk of your energy and attention.

While the people you love and the profession you chose undoubtedly matter, the truth is that nothing is more important than your well-being.

Retrain your mentality by acknowledging that you’re entitled to put yourself first. It’s not selfish—it’s necessary for your happiness and well-being. Once you’ve permitted yourself to do what’s best for you, it will be easier to start releasing those feelings of guilt and finding joy in self-care.

Actively work to improve your self-worth through healthy habits. 

When you take care of yourself physically, it will be easier to take care of yourself emotionally. However, doing a complete overhaul of your daily routine is overwhelming and unsustainable, so choose one area of your life to focus on at a time and make small changes that you can sustain in the long term.

For example, if you want to start exercising more, commit to working out two or three times a week, even if it just means getting a few thousand steps in. Then, as you get used to putting yourself first in one area, you can start expanding to other areas of your life.

Let go of what others think of you with this mindset shift. 

One of the main reasons we feel guilty about putting ourselves first is because we’re worried about what others will think. We don’t want to be seen as selfish or self-centered, so we put others’ needs before our own.

But the truth is that you can’t control what other people think of you. All you can do is control your own actions and thoughts. So instead of worrying about what others will think, focus on adopting this mindset instead: the only person whose opinion matters is your own. Once you take others out of the equation, it becomes much easier to put yourself first.

Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on your own journey. 

Comparison is the thief of joy, as they say. When you compare yourself to others, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and feelings of inadequacy. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your journey and progress.

  • How far have you come?
  • What have you accomplished today, this month, this year?
  • How are you feeling today? Is it better or worse than you felt yesterday?

Learn when to say no to demands and yes to self-care practices. 

One of the hardest things about putting yourself first is learning when to say no to the people who used to own your time. But to put your self-care needs first, you must learn to say no without feeling guilty. This doesn’t mean saying no all the time; it just means saying no to the things that don’t serve you.

Encourage loved ones to prioritize themselves, too. 

One of the best things you can do for your loved ones is to show them that it’s possible to put yourself first without feeling guilty. You may inspire them to do the same as they see you making changes in your own life. This doesn’t mean you should try to force them to change—it just means leading by example.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to put yourself first without feeling guilty can be challenging, but it’s so worth it. Just remember—when you’re thriving on the inside, that fulfillment will overflow to your family and career as well. Your dreams matter, mama. 

If you dream of putting yourself first but aren’t sure what steps to take, the Dream Biz Beginner Membership was made for you. In addition to receiving your very own copy of our best-selling guide, The Playbook: Guide to Following Your Dreams, your membership includes a curated toolkit of resources to help you launch into action. 

Created by a successful woman business owner (who also happens to be a busy mom!), this beginner-level membership offers you a chance to create the life you dream of on your own terms AND at your own pace. 

Designed especially with the needs of busy women in mind, The Dream Biz Beginner Membership will launch you into action while you learn to invest in yourself and your dreams FIRST. 

Learn more about the benefits of a membership today. 

how to put yourself first without feeling guilty


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