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  • Gracie Williams

How to put yourself first and protect your mental health

We often hear the phrase “put yourself first” often used in self-help books, mental health talks, and amongst our peers. However, saying it is a much easier concept than actually doing it.

As humans, we have been generated to believe that we must please others, put others first, and look after others before ourselves. This has now instilled this sense of guilt and selfishness every time we choose to put ourselves first to protect ourselves.

However, putting ourselves first is not a selfish act if we are protecting ourselves and our mental health and this is something we all find hard to grasp. So, we are sharing with you some ways to put yourself first and protect your mental health:

Stop making up excuses, saying no is enough:

IF you do not feel up to going out or seeing friends, or you have been asked for a favour but it’s not something you feel comfortable with, saying no is enough of an answer. We all become guilty of thinking up excuses of why we can’t do that or go there, but saying no is enough.

Unfollow or mute the negative:

I am sure we have all had times where we go on social media and there is that one person who just makes you feel down, negative, or makes you compare yourself, you don’t have to. Unfollow all the accounts that make you feel negative in one way or another, or if you don’t feel comfortable unfollowing, mute them. You don’t have to put up with those feelings.

Social Media Detox:

Likewise, if you are feeling negative whenever you go on social media, it may be time to put yourself first in a different way. Take a break, step back and refresh your mind and your feelings.

Realise that you will never make everyone happy:

We live in a world where every concept seems to be fulfilled by the purpose of pleasing others. With this, we often feel like we need to be liked by everyone and make everyone happy, but that is impossible. We are all so different, we all have different backgrounds, ways of thinking, and ideas, that no one will ever please everyone.

The sooner you realise this, the sooner you will be happier within yourself because you can only do what makes you happy because at the end of the day, that is most important.

Learn to listen to your body:

Our body and mind are so incredibly intertwined and when we don’t listen to our body and nourish it, our mind also faces the consequences, and vice versa. Putting yourself first is not just a mental health concept, when we push our body to exhaustion, we will face the consequences. Maybe you are a footballer, you go into training, you’ve got the world cup coming up and you want to prove yourself and push yourself, but when we focus too much on pushing ourselves, we often forget to listen to our body and instead listen to the voice in our heads that tell us to keep going and keep pushing over our limits.

Use your voice:

There are many instances where we are told to keep quiet and keep our opinions to ourselves. However, another way of putting yourself first is using your voice. Speak up when something isn’t right, back yourself, and be there for yourself.


Yes, it is important to be there for others and make others happy, but when that over-rules our efforts to be there for ourselves and make ourselves happy, we cannot be fulfilled and therefore cannot fulfil our goals of making others happy too. In other words, when we are unhappy, we cannot truly make others happy too. So, put yourself first.

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