Home » Lifestyle » I'm a psychologist – start saying NO and 7 other top tips to put yourself first | The Sun
I'm a psychologist – start saying NO and 7 other top tips to put yourself first | The Sun
ALWAYS putting others first can take a real toll on your health – don’t forget, it’s important to take care of you, too.
Being a carer is tough, as one in eight adults in the UK will know. A whopping 6.5 million of us care for a loved one, and according to the charity Carers UK, 58% of them are women.
You might be looking after ailing parents, or a child or sibling with additional needs – and that’s alongside the housework, paying the bills, and getting the kids off to school.
Looking after yourself can quickly end up at the bottom of the pile. And with 72% of carers saying they have suffered mental illness, and 61% physical illness, as a result of caring, it’s vital to protect your mind and body. But that doesn’t have to mean splashing out on a pricey spa day.
“If you believe you shouldn’t have needs, that belief shows up in the choices you make and in your priorities, which will lead to exhaustion, resentment, self-criticism and exploitation,” says Rod Vincent, co-author of The Super-Helper Syndrome with fellow chartered psychologist Jess Baker. “You have needs – everyone does. It’s about knowing what your needs are and paying attention to them.”
Here’s how to carve out some precious time for yourself, which will help you and those you care for.
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Understand That Self-Care Isn't Selfish
Wanting to spend time on yourself is not selfish, even if we’re sometimes made to feel that it is.
“There’s a view that if you’re a woman working and looking after family, everything should always be about other people and it’s wrong to look after yourself,” says Jess. But switching the language you use in your head can help squash the guilt.
“Be aware of thoughts containing the words ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘ought to’ or ‘shouldn’t have done that’, as they’re signs of irrational thinking. Without realising it, these are internal commands we try to meet, and in doing so, we disregard our own needs,” she says. “Instead, use language such as: ‘I’m doing my best’, ‘I deserve to have my own needs met’,
and ‘The better I care for myself, the better I can care for others.’”
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