I don’t know about you but I rarely put myself first. I make sure that everyone around me is fed and watered and happy before I even think of myself. I say yes when people ask for help before actually thinking of the impact it will have on me. I usually put myself and my mental health bottom.
It really is the wrong way to be. You can still be a good friend, partner or parent if you put yourself first. Plus if you do put your mental health before other people, you’re likely to get well quicker and stay well for longer. Which in the long run benefits everyone.
I’m now home after attending my best friends wedding. I planned the hen party I made the cake and I helped as much as I could, but I also made sure I looked after myself. I went to bed when I needed to, I said no I’ve had enough to drink thank you and I said no to peer pressure. I may have been seen as a bit boring by leaving the party before the sambuca shots started, but am I more well today than if I’d stayed? Yes. And I’m not just talking about a hangover. I’m still knackered, but I’m not so tired that I have no tolerance for the dog barking or the children screaming and I haven’t ruined at least the next two weeks of my life by putting myself last and not looking after myself.
Someone at the party actually tried to talk me into staying after I repeatedly said I was going soon. They sat for a good 15 minutes saying things like ‘sometimes you have to let your hair down and go with it’ and ‘it’s ok to get shitfaced’. So the next time you try to pressure someone into doing something that you think is the right thing… don’t. Especially when you don’t actually know that person or what they’re going through at that time. You might have rocked up to a wedding at 1pm and feel ready to party, but someone else might have started that day five hours earlier helping get that wedding ready! Be kind. Know that your version of the right thing is actually just your opinion.
I also booked myself a spa session before coming home to cook and clean, so again, putting myself first, looking after myself and actively thinking what do I need to not spiral into disaster after a tiring and stressful event.
It shows how far I’ve come in the last three years. Putting yourself and your mental health first is the only way that you will sustain your wellness. It does not make you a bad person.
Stress and tiredness are my main two triggers. So I’m going to do everything I can to avoid them. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself today!