Created In Partnership with Baileys

Self(ish) Love: 4 Ways To Actually Put Yourself First

Image by Natalia Mantini
The last few years have seen us reevaluating our priorities. In partnership with Baileys, Refinery29 Australia is sharing some ways to redefine what it means to look after ourselves and make room for indulgence in our lives  — whatever that looks like to you.
'You can’t pour from an empty cup' is a cliché seen on Pinterest boards around the world, but there’s a reason it’s everywhere — it’s true. You’re no good to anyone if you can’t help yourself.
Despite knowing this, it can be really hard to carve out time just for yourself. There are work obligations, social commitments, parents that need ringing, groceries that need buying and dishes that need doing. And in trying to be the perfect employee, child, friend or partner, we can often put ourselves at the very bottom of our to-do lists. Truthfully, this isn't helping anyone, especially when 'treating yourself' is seen as an indulgent waste of time.
In a world that’s obsessed with productivity, hustle culture, optimisation and being 'that girl', how can we stay on top of our never-ending lists without burning out? To help you focus on filling your own cup, we’ve put together a guilt-free guide to putting yourself first. 

1. Find a hobby – & don't monetise it

For all of the baggage that came with the last few years, it did manage to reignite people's connection to their hobbies. Among those of us that were privileged enough to be working from home and still have evenings and weekends free, many of us began hobbies we never had the time for earlier. And while we may laugh at the banana bread baking and TikTok challenges now, it's a great reminder to try new things and embrace the weirdness of starting something that you're not already good at.

If you haven't boarded the hobby train, why not try a creative practice like painting or cooking alongside friends? Even if something doesn't stick and become a permanent fixture in your life, by indulging your creativity or athleticism, you're trying something new and (hopefully) bringing yourself joy in the process.
If you find that you're good at your newfound hobby, resist the temptation to try and turn it into your side hustle. By finding an activity that you enjoy without the pressure of material gain, you can put yourself and your joy first and escape from the noisy world — even if only for a few hours.

2. Reimagine self-care

Self-care doesn’t have to be all luxury candles and boujee spa appointments, (though those are lovely too). It's about things like moving your body in a way that works for you, taking the time to journal, listening to your favourite music and nourishing your body by eating healthy while allowing yourself to indulge in occasional treats like Baileys French Toast for brunch.
If you have an empty slot in your schedule, rather than filling it up with coffee dates and catch-ups, pencil in some time by yourself. Relax with a delicious bubble bath, get lost in a good book, or even take a Main Character walk. It doesn't cost much to live an indulgent life, and carving out time devoted only to yourself and the activities you enjoy will help you start to put yourself first in other areas too.

3. Stop people-pleasing & set healthy boundaries

Creating personal boundaries can help you protect your time and energy, giving you more fuel to work on your inner self. According to therapist Kati Morton, people-pleasing is a trait that we often learn in childhood, but if we let our own needs fall by the wayside, it can quickly turn toxic. Speaking with Refinery29, Morton says, “When we are always the one going along with other people and trying to make them happy, it can leave us feeling very unhappy, and possibly depressed." 
By choosing not to interact with people who make you feel bad about yourself, blocking or muting your ex on social media, logging out of work on time, you’re putting your needs first, resulting in better self-knowledge around your boundaries and limits. And what could be better than that?

4. Shrug off society’s expectations 

By realising that society’s markers of success aren’t a checklist you need to tick off, you can start to live your life on your own terms. This is especially important for women, people of colour, and minority groups, who live within white, patriarchal power structures that don't always give them the tools needed to succeed.
Start by creating your own list of values and goals. What do you want to do in the next six months? What would make you happy to have achieved in five years? Ten? While you don't need to have every month mapped out in an aesthetically pleasing bullet journal, having a rough idea of the future you want will help you drown out the expectations of others.
Shrug off what your family, friends and society at large think about what you should do with your life — and worry about yourself. Everyone’s life is different and it would be pretty boring if we all achieved things at the exact same age. Take a breath and remember that you’re exactly where you’re meant to be — and if you feel that you aren’t, you can always start to change it and live your best life, whatever that looks like to you.
Baileys is only available to those over 18 years of age. Please drink responsibly.
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