Have you ever stopped to consider your needs without taking into account what someone else wanted from you? In most instances, you get so wrapped up in other people’s issues and obligations that you forget your own well-being and how to focus on yourself.
Some people may feel like it’s a waste of time or selfish to focus on yourself. However, this is a wrong way of thinking. If you want to flourish in life, it is important to master the art of looking after yourself.
What Does Focusing On Yourself Mean?
Now-a-days, it is so easy to spend all your time worrying about what other people are doing and what they think of us. This behavior can manifest itself in a variety of ways. For instance, you may find that other people’s limitations have become your own.
You find yourself worried about what other people think of you instead of what you think of yourself. Some people spend their time focusing on others through watching them on social media. They find themselves comparing their life and living vicariously through that person, as their own life stagnates.
When we focus on other people, we begin comparing ourselves and when we compare ourselves to other people’s highlight reels, we will sadly never measure up.
So how do you focus on yourself?
Focusing on yourself refers to the process of building a strong relationship with yourself. Think of yourself as an incredible person that you want to befriend. As such, you purposely take time off and engage in actions to help you achieve personal joy, peace and realize your goals.
Focusing on yourself is an ongoing practice of healing from past pains. It’s all about listening to your inner voice, finding balance and explore what makes you feel good.
Why You Need To Focus On Yourself
There are many benefits to focussing on yourself. For starters, it helps you ease symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. Making yourself a priority benefits your health, as you’ll learn to practice self-care and take time off to recharge.
Another reason why you need to focus on yourself is because no one can take better care of yourself than you can. We exist in a world where people often interact on a superficial level.
For example, people you work with may ask you how you are doing because they are curious about your life, rather than because they really care about you.
The sad reality is that the majority of people don’t really care about your well-being on a deep and meaningful level. Therefore, it’s up to you to learn how to focus on yourself to take better care of yourself.
How Can I Start Focusing On Myself?
Most people ask, ‘How do I focus on myself and be happy?’ Here are fifteen strategies that will help you.
1. Practice Self-Love
Self-love may sound like something promulgated by hippies with dyed t-shirts. But the reality is that this concept can benefit everyone. Self-love means being kind to yourself and engaging in actions that support your physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. It entails minimizing the negative self-talk and engaging more in positive self-evaluation.
Most entrepreneurs and go-getters fall prey to the constant need to be better. Although this is a great goal, it can lead you down a rabbit hole of self-loathing and dissatisfaction. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to become a better person.
But applying self-love entails allowing yourself to take some breaks. Rather than criticizing yourself for failure, you should gently remind yourself that you’ve done your best and you’ll do better next time.
Self-love calls you to appreciate who you are and what you are good at. Most of the time, we focus on what we don’t like about ourselves. Yet, self-love calls you to value yourself enough to discover who you are beyond what people see in you or want from you.
2. Try New Things
Most people are so engrossed in their lives that all they know how to do is their jobs. There’s nothing wrong with being committed to work. However, it is important to develop other skills beyond it.
You can try out new things like taking up a hobby such as learning a new language, trying a new sport, or starting a side business. This will help you develop a richer, more meaningful life.
Take time to look for a hobby that interests you. It doesn’t have to be something related to your job, just be sure to focus on what you need to learn to be able to pursue your new hobby.
3. Make Time For Loved Ones
As the saying goes, ‘family is forever.’ The material things that we treasure, for example, art collections, cars and clothes – we can easily lose. However, those great relationships, whether they be family or close friends, will be around forever and have a significant impact on the quality of our lives.
Often times, we set goals and focus on making more money at the cost of spending time with loved ones. We think that when we achieve a certain level of success, we will be able provide for them and essentially buy back their love.
In reality, however, it is more important to sow into relationships with our close friends and family. The truth is that no one is assured of tomorrow.
Focusing on yourself entails finding time to spend with loved ones no matter where you are in your career or business.
4. Cultivate A Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is hard to cultivate and often requires you to change your mindset. But if you are willing to make the sacrifices, the benefits will improve your overall well-being. If you’ve ever pushed yourself at work or in other obligations without proper nutrition or adequate rest, you are likely to have experienced a degree of burnout.
Pushing yourself may work in the short-term, but it’s not sustainable in the long term. It is important to maintain a healthy and sustainable pace rather than frequently experiencing high levels of stress or constant burnout.
The first step that you need to take is to ensure that you get enough sleep. Often, the ‘work-hard mindset’ is so deeply entrenched in us that we feel like getting at least eight hours of sleep is a sign of laziness.
Yet, getting a good night’s sleep is the best way to stay energized and keep your body strong, throughout the day. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
The second step that you need to take is to incorporate regular exercise into your schedule. Make sure that you engage in forms of exercise that you enjoy, so that you will stick with it longer term.
Lastly, it would be hard for you to cultivate a healthy lifestyle without eating nourishing and healthy food. Work on incorporating healthy meals like whole foods and less processed or packaged foods. Also, you should drink a minimum of 2 liters of water per day to stay properly hydrated.
5. Add More Alone Time To Your Schedule
A previously mentioned, it’s important to set time aside for your friends, family, and co-workers. However, alone time is just as important as the time spent with loved ones. Create time each week to sit quietly with your own thoughts.
Choose a time when it’s unlikely for you to be interrupted. For instance, it could be on a Sunday afternoon when you’re relaxing on your own. You could begin journalling or simply listen to music to relax. It might feel awkward at first having some time for yourself. But in the end, you’ll begin to really treasure those moments.
6. Nurture Your Self-Esteem
We’ve already covered self-love and the value it brings to your life. Another equally important concept that you need to cultivate is building up your self-esteem. Feeling good about who you are and where you’re going is crucial to your happiness and success in every area of life.
When you nurture your self-esteem, the positive energy you get will help you focus on the positive and have meaningful connections with other people.
One way you can nurture your self-esteem is to think about the things you’ve been able to accomplish. This may be in your career, family, in your community, or through a hobby. The good things you’ve accomplished are a reminder that you can achieve the goals that you’ve set out to accomplish no matter what you’re struggling with.
If you find it hard to account for your accomplishments, then remember that you have intrinsic value as a person that goes beyond money, accomplishments, or any other factor. You must recognize that there’s only one of you in the world, and you have something special to give to the world.
Journaling offers you a chance to self-reflect. You can organize your thoughts, recognize patterns, and set goals that will give you more control of your life’s direction.
You can even pick a journal that has prompts if you’re not sure how to start journaling. Or you can start journaling by starting to write on how you don’t know what to write about. The goal here is not to produce a masterfully crafted chronology of your life. Instead, it’s for you to focus on self-reflection and your experiences with self-care.
You can use the journal to write down answers to some integral questions, such as:
- What is your purpose?
- How are you working towards fulfilling that purpose?
- What makes you happy?
- What would you like to do less in your life?
- How do you feel today?
8. Spend Time Doing Things You Love
Spending time doing things that you love will make you a happier and more fulfilled person. People in relationships can often spend all of their time trying to please their partner and doing what their partner wants to do.
Although this is great, it can sometimes leave you feeling frustrated and unfulfilled because your needs are not also being met. Everyone needs time to pursue their own hobbies, so set aside some time to do the things you love. It will improve your outlook on life and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.
9. Avoid Comparing Yourself with Others
Comparing yourself to others is self-destructive. You may look at a friend and think to yourself, “I wish I had her career/kids/partner/income/health etc. The social comparison theory states that our tendency to compare ourselves with others helps with information gathering.
When we compare ourselves with others, it gives us a reality check and opens our minds to what is possible.
On the downside, comparing yourself to others can be damaging, as it can get us off course with our own plans and dreams. You may convince yourself that the other person is fulfilled in life, but the reality is that we all have our challenges.
Rather than compare yourself to others, you should look at things you already have (what brings you joy). What are you grateful for? Or, what would you like more of or less of? Where do you want to be 10 years from now?
Focus on accomplishing your own dreams.
10. Examine Your Values
Some people lose sight of their personal values when a significant life event occurs. Such as; after going through a break-up, job loss, death of a loved one, or any bad life event.
Taking time to reconsider and examine your values will help you refocus your attention on your goals and who you want to become. For example, if you value community, you may look for ways to give back to the community.
You can write down your values in your journal. After that, look for ways to incorporate those values into your life in meaningful ways. You may realize that some values like humility, optimism, and hard work come naturally to you. But other values, like courage, accountability, or leadership, may require a bit more effort.
11. Start By Making Small, Sustainable Changes
Change is never easy. Therefore, the best way to approach change is to make small but sustainable changes every day. Incorporate the activities that will help you focus on yourself into your daily and weekly schedule. For instance, you could aim to sleep 7 to 9 hours to allow your body and mind to properly rest. You could also set aside 30 minutes every evening to read a book.
The daily changes will eventually become a habit, leading to a better version of you.
12. Consider Taking A Break From Social Media
It’s not healthy to be on social media 24/7, as studies show that it leads to stress, anxiety, and depression. You should turn off notifications, set time limits, and prioritize self-care instead.
You should be conscious of how you use social media. That means knowing when to take a break and shift your attention elsewhere.
Even though we use it to engage with friends, it limits our time for face-to-face interactions and makes you spend less time in the real world and more time on your phone or computer. Also, it can be harmful to your mental health, as you spend more time comparing yourself to edited photos of people whose lives seem perfect.
It would be best to take time off social media and focus on taking care of yourself and enjoying life outside of your phone.
13. Focus On Your Basic Needs
It is important to focus on your own needs for a change instead of constantly putting others’ needs before your own. Even when it comes to choosing what to have for dinner, you’ll find that a person prefers it when their partner makes a choice.
Some people feel that they are not worthy of having their needs met. Perhaps they fear rejection or feel that expressing their needs is a sign of weakness. I mean, if you think about it, our needs can be scary, for example, I need some time alone, I need more understanding, I need to feel safe, I need more of your time.
One thing you need to realize is that it’s not rude or pushy to have your needs met. In fact, it’s important for you to want them to be met. Pause for a moment and ask yourself, what is it that I need at this moment? Most people have gone for a long time without fully being aware of their needs.
Maybe you’ve grown accustomed to having a passive role in a relationship, and you feel that your needs don’t matter. However, now is the time to identify your needs and vocalize to your partner what they are.
14. Identify Something In Yourself You’d Like To Develop And Work At It Every Day
It’s normal to feel like there’s so much to be done in your life in terms of self-improvement. But being a better person doesn’t involve being overly hard on yourself (it’s quite the opposite).
The more self-kindness and self-compassion you can cultivate, the more equipped you’ll be to treat those around you in the same way. Plus, doing good for others enriches our lives and helps us become better and healthier.
Is there something that you’d like to improve in your life? Maybe you want to cultivate more gratitude or more positive self-talk. You can include strategies to develop these aspects in your daily routine.
15. Learn To Like Yourself
Take a moment and ask yourself these questions, Do you like yourself? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Are you happy with your appearance? Are you constantly comparing yourself with others? Here’s the thing, your level of self-esteem is based on how you think about yourself. No one is perfect. So, stop comparing yourself with others and have patience with yourself.
Choose to love yourself (warts and all) and develop a positive outlook towards life. You can learn to love yourself while still working on yourself. Whatever areas you feel need improvement, you’ll work on them and accomplish the change you want to see in you.
The Bottom Line
Understanding how to focus on yourself is one of the best things that you can do for your personal well-being. It is not as self-centered as it sounds, and when done right, it will positively impact your life and your relationship with others. We hope you realize how important it is to focus on yourself. Try our tips and see how they’ll impact your life and improve your mental health.