Women are notorious for putting everyone else’s needs before their own; however, it can become a problem if your own needs are never being met. Putting your heart and soul into everything you do is admirable, but you can’t give so much that it hurts. Here are some red flags to watch for, to help you know whether you need to draw a line:
Red Flag #1: You Have Nothing Left to Give
You would love to go outside and go for a long walk, or meet up with friends for a late night out. The problem is that you can’t seem to will your body to get up off the couch. Everything feels like a chore, and things that once brought you pleasure are just too much work right now. This is a flag for burnout; as difficult as this may be for you, let everything else wait and ask for some help. You need to rest.
Red Flag #2: You’re Feeling Resentful
You spend so much of your day looking after everyone else that you never do anything for you – that would make anyone feel resentful. On top of it, sometimes it feels like no one even notices all that you do, and you’re taken for granted. It’s important for you to feel cared for and respected. If you notice that you are feeling resentful, it’s time to change some of the ways you things for others.
Red Flag #3: Your Needs Get Zero Attention
Have you started to notice that nobody seems to even recognize that you have needs? Don’t be too hard on them; others around you have become so used to depending on you, that it probably doesn’t even occur to them that you’re just as worthy of attention as they are.
Picking up on the signals that you are in need of some important self-care time, and helping those around you to understand how you are feeling, is not necessarily an instantaneous revelation – old habits die hard, as they say. It may take some strategic planning, focused conversations, and honest open-mindedness to not only share your thoughts, but also have those in your circle understand and appreciate them.
Once you have identified that it’s time to start drawing boundaries, you need to find a way to do it without hurting the people around you. Here are two helpful strategies to get you started:
Most people hate surprises. Explain to them that you are feeling overextended and that you need to set limits on what you do. They probably won’t like it, but they will understand it a little more which in turn will make changes come more easily.
Plan Special Time
Change tends to make people feel a little nervous. If you are pulling back, there is a good chance that some people won’t be happy about it. Plan a date with the people close to you so that they know that they still matter. It could be as simple as going ice skating with your child, or taking one of your employees out to lunch. The amazing thing about this is that you are exchanging tasks that you once resented, for quality time that will help build your relationships.
We need to stop putting ourselves last; taking care of yourself and having your own needs heard and met is not selfish, and should be made a priority.