Keeping Yourself a Priority

Let’s face it- this year has been especially tough on you. The pandemic, election, personal and professional challenges, are just some of the stressors that are depleting much, if not all, of your energy. Those of you who also struggle with mental illness, might be feeling that these burdens are just way too much to bear. Thinking, “there isn’t enough time in the day” to tend to your responsibilities and the people in your life who need your attention, is overwhelming. Therefore, you’ve been unfortunately pushed to the bottom of your priority list.

When was the last time you went for a walk? Or, engaged in some mindful meditation? Or, practiced your favorite hobbies that you once enjoyed before the demands of life increased? Some of you might be thinking, “I don’t have time to exercise” or “My kids eat up all of my attention” or “I wish I had the energy.” Truth is – you do have the time, are worthy of your own attention, and will feel more energy as you practice self-care.

How to keep yourself a priority

  1. Identify activities you enjoy, things that matter to you: Self-care does not have to take hours of your time and does not have to be viewed as another chore/obligation. Find something you enjoy doing, something that matters to you, and give yourself a minimum of 15 minutes to practice it. If you need to wake up earlier, do so! YOU DESERVE IT!
  2. Set realistic goals: When starting to put yourself back at the top of your priority list, it’s okay to start off with a small commitment, and work your way up to a larger one. For example: If you are looking to get back to exercising, start off at 2-3 days/week for 20 minutes. It will feel less daunting and more feasible than expecting yourself to exercise every day for an hour.
  3. Stay connected with friends and family: Give yourself time during the week/weekend to connect with friends and family members you miss spending time with. Taking some time away from your obligations with those you love simply having fun and/or receiving support, will give you extra energy and help you feel happier.
  4. Talk with a therapist: If you feel as though the stressors of your daily life are too overwhelming, consider talking with a therapist. A therapist is fully equipped to help you with finding the tools you need to be able to put yourself back at the top of your priority list. You are not alone! At the Olive Branch Therapy Group we have a team of therapists – Contact us.

If you can envision your emotional well-being as a bank account; self-care is a form of depositing positive emotions and energy, while your obligations (especially if they aren’t ones you enjoy) can deplete your energy and therefore contribute to experiencing difficult emotions. At this time, many of you might be feeling like you’re “bankrupt” and emotionally depleted. Now, more than ever, is the time for you to seek support and put yourself back on your priority list! We at Olive Branch Therapy Group are here to help you!

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About The Author

Jessica Stiskin, LPC is a therapist at Olive Branch Therapy Group and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Jessica offers In-person individual and family therapy as well as online video counseling for residents of New Jersey. If you are interested in working with Jessica,  contact us via email, phone or chat on our website.