Put Yourself and Your Health First, Without The Guilt!
If you ask the majority of people who have had weight loss surgery for a word or expression that a close friend or family member would use to describe them, the same words and phrases generally keep coming up: hard-working, kind, helpful, always there for others, loyal, a great mate, would do anything for me, and so on.
While these could be described as great personal qualities, there’s also a potential problem – the tendency to overlook one person in your world – you! For many people this has always been the case – a lifetime of giving, because isn’t it selfish to think of yourself or to put your own needs first?
The truth is though, if you don’t take care of yourself and your health, you don’t function at your best and you can’t take care of the people and the things that are important to you.
Please read that again! And one more time! Making yourself and your health a priority is not selfish, because being the best and healthiest ‘you’ is the greatest gift you have to give!
Most people feel that they’re being selfish when they set aside time for themselves or for their health and wellness goals. And being ‘selfish’ usually implies that we are doing things that make us happier or better at the expense of others. Yet that is not the case at all.
Have a think for a moment about what airlines say in their onboard message about the oxygen mask if you’re travelling with people you’re responsible for. Who gets the oxygen mask first?
The correct answer is YOU.
We must put the oxygen mask on ourselves first if we want to be able to care for others and meet our responsibilities. And yet outside of an aircraft we usually do the opposite – putting the oxygen mask on everyone and everything else while we become more and more starved of oxygen and less able to do the things that have meaning and are healthy for us!
So now is the time to change the routine and put the oxygen mask on yourself first, every day so that you can experience the health and vitality that you truly want after your WLS! This will also enable you to be the best version of you, for all of the important people in your life.
Here are three simple actions you can take to help get this balance right:
- Set aside time for yourself every day, whether it’s for movement, relaxation, reading, spending time in nature, going for a walk, starting a new hobby or course, listening to an inspiring podcast or something else that is purely about you, and your health and wellbeing. Make an appointment with yourself! If you don’t do this, this ‘you-time’ almost definitely will not happen. Start with just 15 minutes a day, and work up from there.
- Give yourself permission to say “no” to requests that will require you to sacrifice your needs, make you feel taken for granted, that cut into your self-care plans, or to activities that you just don’t want to do. In reality, if you do say no, the person will probably a) just do without it or b) find some other way to make it happen.
- Relieve yourself of any feelings of guilt that may come up by recognising that they are just part of an old story or belief around what it means when we make ourselves a priority. You have probably had that belief since you were much younger and can shift it over time by saying to yourself that “by putting myself and my health first, I will have more to give to others”.
Taking these actions may feel uncomfortable at first simply because they are unfamiliar. The more you do them, the easier and more comfortable they will feel, so keep applying them and focus on how making yourself a priority is helping everyone around you, and moving you closer towards your health goals every day!
We have some great resources on The Fresh Start Program to assist you with making these shifts, as well as a group face-to-face workshop on this topic, so we look forward to assisting you further if you have any queries or would like any support with this.
Please contact Melbourne Gastro Surgery’s Centre For Weight Loss for further information about The Fresh Start Program or for any other assistance. You can also contact us via email or book a free 20 minute consultation with our Patient Advisor.