How important are you? Do you feature on your own list of priorities? If you're a mum you no doubt regard your children as your number one priority. If you work as a manager or business owner with staff or targets to consider you'll justifiably treat work as vital. It's important to look after your staff and customers, earn a living and be in a stimulating environment that sustains you.
Family and friends are important too. They're often the reason we work so hard; to provide them with a comfortable home and lifestyle, good schooling and fun times together.
The big question is, where do you fit into all of this? If you went to a restaurant or consulted a specialist and saw that they were stressed, irritable and overworked you'd probably wonder why they'd agreed to take your booking. The same applies if you're being pulled in all directions and not feeling able to cope. Irritability, frustration and resentment can start to surface. No one benefits.
Achieving some balance in life, where you recognise your limits and boundaries, allows you to be the best version of yourself. Then everyone, including you, has a better experience and quality of life.
Here are 10 ways to be the best version of yourself:
- Practise positive self talk. Start to notice those automatic 'I'm so stupid' responses that can so easily surface when you're stressed. Yes, something you did may have been a mistake, but that doesn't mean you're stupid. We often talk to ourselves more harshly than we ever would to anyone else. Learn to be kinder to yourself and recognise your early warning signs of stress.
- Schedule time for things you know you do well. It's especially important in the midst of tough or difficult times to remind yourself of your skills, talents and abilities. Allow time for the things you enjoy and are good at. Sport, DIY, playing an instrument, volunteering can be ways to bring a positive mindset into your life.
- 'Broadcast' what you've done. Household chores, chauffeuring duties, the errands that go unnoticed are often taken for granted. There's no need to be heavy-handed, but occasionally remind others that you've stocked the cupboards with food, the clean laundry and towels don't get replenished by magic. Solicit appreciation for those efforts that support the smooth running of their lives.
- Smile and accept compliments and praise. Don't shrug them off in an 'it's nothing' way. Acknowledge, say 'thank you' and let them know that good manners and appreciation are important to you.
- Pace yourself. Being the best version of yourself means being able to manage stress. Learn to recognise what you can and can't do each day. There's no merit in being invincible or feeling that you've failed if you don't manage to do everything. It's okay to tackle big jobs in stages.
- Let others help. If you're working long hours or have many demands on your time why not engage help with cleaning, gardening, ironing or with business tasks like PR, accounts and social media. The time freed up can be used elsewhere and is often money well spent. Delegate tasks to staff and encourage them to blossom and become more enthusiastic about their work. Let your children help. Even if their efforts are clumsy it's good to encourage them to become more independent.
- 'No' can be the most positive word in your vocabulary when used well. 'Yes' can become a negative habit if you automatically take on too much by way of work, social engagements or family responsibilities. We may be eager to please others, appear efficient and successful. But saying 'no' in an appropriate way allows you to use your time well, focus on your priorities and become the best version of yourself.
- Nurture your relationships. Our partners, families, colleagues, friends cannot be expected to be psychic but will often be understanding and supportive if told what's going on and asked for help. Let them in and they may even come up with great ideas and suggestions.
- Have regular breaks. It may seem counter-intuitive to stop work for a time, but regular breaks allow you to better manage stress and return to work with a fresh perspective and new insights. Being the best version of yourself means looking after yourself and pausing from time to time. Have a healthy snack, plenty of water and switch off for an hour or so before bed.
- Accept invitations and offers that take you out of your comfort zone. Scare yourself a little every day, even if it's simply by choosing a different lunch, speaking to someone new, accepting a challenge. Allow your confidence and self belief to grow by expanding your horizons. Keep a journal and log those mini-successes to sustain you during difficult times.
Becoming the best version of yourself means shaking off old, unhelpful patterns that may have once worked well for you. And interestingly, once we become receptive to positive changes other factors often work to motivate and sustain us.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net