We’re welcoming Victoria Lawlor back to Happy Magazine today with some tips on how to feel less guilty about putting yourself first.
Why do women feel so guilty looking after themselves? I’ve found amongst my friends, particularly those that are working outside the house or being full time carers to others that they feel insanely guilty about spending any time or money on themselves.
Looking after yourself is a key element in feeling good about yourself. Looking at your own freshly manicured nails, can make you feel more confident. Coming out of the hairdressers with a cool style or colour you love, can boost your mood. Having a massage or a facial can help to lower blood pressure and relax you. So why do we feel so guilty?
For some, it can be for financial reasons. I totally understand that and am in no way encouraging you to spend €100 in the hairdressers if that is beyond your means. For others, it can be a time pressure, we feel there is so much to do that we can’t afford the time on ourselves. I understand that too, but everyone has the same amount of time available to them in the day and some people appear to get a lot more done than others.
Here are my hints and tips to help you feel less guilty about putting yourself first for a change.
If you are putting money aside every week then you will feel you have earned it when you get to spend it rather than using the credit card and then feeling guilty afterwards. Also look at deals, your local salon may have half price treatments on quiet days of the week.
Your hairdressers may offer services at reduced prices for students learning (most of these sessions are really well supervised by fully qualified experienced staff, so you still end up with a full head highlights at a fraction of the full price. There are also lots of deals on sites like Pigsback and Dealrush. This may allow you to get a similar treatment but at a different salon than you may usually go to.
Commit to something small to start off with. Maybe a 30 minute walk. It’s free and not too much time away from family and other commitments but it’s enough time for you to feel that you have some headspace on your own.
Also consider what beauty treatments you can do at home. A homemade face mask with fresh ingredients and a relaxing Spotify tune can be just as good for your mental health as an expensive salon treatment at a fraction of the price.
Jot down (just for you, where no one else will see it) where you are spending your time for a whole week. Every 15 minutes note what you have done. At the end of the day, tally this up and see what is eating up your time.
This works really well if you divide the day into a circle and then colour in segments of the day according to what you are spending the time on (e.g. black for housework, blue for exercise, red for shopping, pink for watching TV etc.) This will help you see visually where you are spending large chunks of time. Once you are aware of this and how potentially unbalanced your day could be you can choose how you spend your time more carefully.
Ask yourself, what you want to do. Not what does the family want to do or your in-laws expect of you. If you stay true to what you want to do, you will feel more centred and in control. Of course, it’s not always possible to get your own way all of the time, but being more aware of our own needs and putting them at the core of our decisions certainly helps.
Start Saying Sorry
Overcommitting can be a key course of stress. How many times last year did you agree do something that your heart wasn’t into and then regret it afterwards? If you don’t want to do the coffee morning, school collection for the teacher or be the one that organises the next PTA fundraiser say ‘Sorry, I can’t commit to that right now.’ It’s more polite than saying no outright but it still gets you off the hook. The plus side of course is that it frees up all that extra time for you to spend doing things that you love.
So if you would like to join me in being selfish in 2018 then please feel free. You don’t need my permission, give that permission to yourself. Put yourself first for a change and you will see and soon appreciate why being selfish is the new black.
Victoria is a busy working Mum to high-energy primary school kids. A qualified life coach, with more than ten years experience juggling the work/life balance seesaw and managing to squeeze in time to watch Game of Thrones inbetween with a hot cup of tea.
Victoria is a creative Mum who loves knitting, crafting and baking. Always learning and open to new ideas, she hopes to inspire others through her love of writing.