Prioritise you and plan your rest

How do you prioritise yourself when there are always new tasks to be done, and new ideas to be explored? If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know I’ve never had an easy time relaxing, and it’s one of the main things I’m working on this year. But as much as I might talk about how important it is to make time for ourselves, I don’t always find it easy.

I’m working through Jen Carrington’s The Intuitive Workweek program at the moment. Designed to help you think about what an ideal workweek looks and feels like to you, what’s getting in the way of it and how you can start to make it happen for yourself. One of the sections of this is to come up with the mantras that guide your process and the work you do. A mantra I came up with was Prioritise You. It’s something I believe we should all be doing if we want to live healthier, happier lives that are mindful and intentional. So, I kinda need to be doing this too.

So I wrote this mantra on a post-it note and stuck it on the mirror. Now it’s there as a daily reminder to keep checking in, and asking myself if what I’m doing is in line with it.

The Prioritise You Gremlins

As I write this I’m starting to think of all the ways people might judge me for doing this. How I might be perceived as selfish; that I’ve got the privilege of loads of free time so am able to put myself first. We all thing these things because of how much our society values busyness and rewards over-work and stress. When we really examine it though, nothing wins when we don’t prioritise ourselves. If we’re stressed out, burnt out and exhausted our work suffers as well as our health.

It sounds counterintuitive, I know, but people who prioritise themselves are better able to serve others. Happier people are more likely to help others because they are less caught up in their own problems. Happiness is a human right; we have to prioritise ourselves because no-one else is going to. And I’ll let you into a little secret, it feels good to do this.

Think about a time when you just let yourself do what you want, what you instinctively felt you needed. Whether that’s having a bath, going for a walk, or staying in bed watching movies and anything in between. It always feels good, as long as we can get rid of the guilt around doing it and allow this time for ourselves.

So how do we do it?

Actually, I can’t give you a definitive answer to that. Because I’m still working through all this. I look back over the past month since I got back from a hectic period working away, and I realise I have not been having a season of rest like I identified I needed and told myself I would have. Work got in the way. I’ve had evaluations to write for my theatre company, then other funding applications came along, and I’ve been building my yoga business. What I’m realising, though, is work will always get in the way and we have to actively plan for rest.

This came up in my coaching session with Jen Carrington last week, and now I have a fairly daunting sounding task. For the next three weeks I will be precisely scheduling my time. At the moment I have my to-do list for the day, but no time-frames in which to do this. What this means is prioritising myself can fall by the wayside and work eats into rest time. So in this experiment rest will be scheduled too – and I have to stick to it. It’s going to feel weird and challenging, but if I want to live by my own mantras then I think it has to be done.

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

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