We all do it. Whether it's putting off getting that little niggle checked out by a specialist, pushing through another cold because you "don't have time to get ill" or simply living life in a permanent state of semi-dehydration... many, many of us women put our health last.
Why? Well, each of us are different. But in the community of women I know, there are certain patterns I see coming up again and again.
So, if you know you often put your health last, have a read and see if any of these speaks to you.
3 reasons women put our health last
#1 We think resting is a sign of weakness
Round here, we lovingly refer to this way of living as "Superwoman". You're running on fumes (or stress hormones, to be precise) and attempting to give 100% in every area of your life, no matter how packed your day or unreasonable your expectations. Our ability to multitask, laser focus and achieve highly in multiple areas can certainly come in handy from time to time. But when we get stuck there, we can find ourselves ignoring the signs of exhaustion and burnout before they're too late.
If you know you've been burning the candle at both ends, don't wait until you crash. There are simple actions you can take to reclaim your energy. I know it's hard when everyone's relying on you. But they'll thank you in the long term when you put your own needs first.
#2 Everyone else comes first
Mums, have a quick think about the last snack you prepared. Were there blueberries involved, did you cut the apple up just so, was it arranged prettily on a plate? Now think about yours - was it the bruised apple from the bottom of the bag, or someone else's leftovers?
It's not only mums who do it. How many times have you insisted on being the one to stay late in the office / clean up after dinner / be the designated driver - and taken a perverse pride in sacrificing your own needs? It's that age old "martyr" archetype rearing her head. The one who always takes second place to everyone else - and who'll lead to you carrying on no matter what your body needs, almost as a badge of honour.
If that sounds familiar, take a moment to recognise that pattern. Ask yourself what it would be like to put your own needs first for once.
Does it feel scary, or as though you're acting "selfishly"? Remember - you can't be there for others unless you care for yourself too.
#3 It feels... ugh
We've talked a lot before about the motivation many of us slip into when it comes to making healthy choices. It's driven by what you don't want to feel - tired, drained, heavy - rather than the goal you're working towards.
So perhaps you're avoiding booking that checkup because you're doing it out of a sense of fear (what if something's really wrong?) or duty (I really should do it).
Instead, what if you saw an appointment with a health professional as being a step towards feeling energised and wide awake every morning; having better orgasms; making more of a difference in the world; or just loving your body?
Try shifting to this more positive approach, and you might just be surprised at how much easier taking care of your health feels.
Do you put your health last?
When it comes to our relationships with our bodies, one thing is clear. Just like a teenage love triangle - it's complicated.
Our patterns of what we prioritise, what we feel justified making time for, and how we think about our own health and wellbeing are shaped by so many things: How we were brought up, what we've experienced in our lives so far, our current health status, the community around us... and on and on.
At the end of the day, what matters isn't so much why you put your health last. It's that you are - and that you're not alone.
If you'd like to find a new way of relating to your body and taking care of your health, join me for Unlock Your Vitality.
It’s a free online workshop happening on 19th November – and you can register for your place here.
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