The importance of putting yourself first

In this Mindful Moments blog post we are looking at the importance of putting yourself first. A few weeks ago, a colleague complimented me on prioritizing my time and energy, and asked me why I was protective of this. I had to think for a moment before answering her. I do try to put into practice the things I ask my clients to do, and caring for yourself is hugely important, but this answer wasn’t really fitting enough for me.

I thought back to the first job I held after finishing my bachelor’s degree, and I stayed working there for 2 ½ years. There were good times there, and I certainly learned a lot, but one of the messages I really learned, was that my employer wasn’t going to care for me. The company was interested in paying me to do my job, and if I was burning out, or wasn’t making the time to care for me, they weren’t the ones who were going to ensure it happened. I had a similar experience at my next job, and I guess it took me two big lessons, and several years for this to really hit home.

My employer wasn’t going to ensure I was cared for.

This was up to me.

It is my responsibility to care for me.

My hope is, wherever you work, your company does this for you or at the very least, addresses the importance of it. I also know how rare this is, and want to charge you with the responsibility of, ultimately, you are in charge of taking care of you. Leave a little early if you need to (with permission of course) and call in sick when you’re not feeling well. Take vacation, and set up limits which are realistic to getting your work done, in the amount of time you’re being compensated for being there. Take care of you. For each of us, I expect these boundaries and limits to be different, so really do think about the things, you specifically need to care for yourself.  And remember, it is OK to put yourself first.


Karyn Zuidhof, Calgary Psychologist

As a Registered Psychologist, I have experience helping people with a variety of concerns including, but not limited to stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, parenting, and relationships. Together, we will use cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), and collaborate to find the thoughts and actions creating obstacles in your life, test them out, and combat them to decide if they’re helping or hindering you. Most of all, I want to help you reach your potential, and make the way there a little easier.

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