How to prioritize self care when you hate letting people down

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Hey friends,

I’ve realized recently that I’m a bit of a people-pleaser. I hate letting people down. I want to be seen as a reliable, dependable, person. Someone you can count on to always pull through. Someone who’s got your back 24/7. But I’ve also realized that, that is a completely unrealistic expectation I have put on myself. In fact it has caused me to end up in a bundle of tears and soggy tissues because I feel like I’m failing everyone.

I think the cure to this craziness is making sure we take care of ourselves. But how do we prioritize self care when we don’t want to let people down? How can we keep all of our commitments and still stay sane?

Stick around and I’ll tell you how I plan on doing it better.

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Last week was really stressful. One of those weeks where the pressure keeps building like blowing air into a balloon until it feels like you might spontaneously burst at any second.

The thing about being an introvert is that you cannot function like a normal member of society without setting boundaries. Most of the time I’m good at doing that. I prioritize self care, I choose to avoid social outings if I know I’m not up to it and I manage to keep my head above water.

But sometimes you cannot control your situation. Like this past week I had 3 tests, 2 shifts at work, a wine and cheese night at our flat, a 21st birthday party and youth leading at church (well I was supposed to anyway…)

Come Sunday night I was a mess. That balloon of pressure that had been welling up finally popped and I broke down. It felt to me like I was been squeezed from every direction, like everyone wanted something from me and I just had nothing left to give.

Do you know that feeling?

Giving and giving and giving of yourself until you feel all poured out, dehydrated and very fragile.

prioritize-self-care

I think often we put too much pressure on ourselves to stay ‘on the ball’ at all times. We have to be there for our friends, successful at work, fit and beautiful, eating well, drinking a billion litres of water every day, sleeping like a baby…That’s a lot to keep on top of. It’s no wonder we feel hopelessly overwhelmed and sometimes we breakdown.

You and me…we need to give ourselves a break.

We need to recognize that self care is more than just some tooty fruity trend…it’s vital for our survival.

Related: How to find rest if you are anxious all the time

It’s NOT okay to be so stressed that you cry when you run out of milk. It’s NOT okay to lose sleep at night because you are so anxious that you are gonna disappoint someone. We shouldn’t be feeling like a failure for taking a break. We shouldn’t be living like shells of ourselves.

So if that sounds a little bit like you, take a breath and let’s do something about it together…

How to prioritize self care when you hate letting people down:

Don’t apologize for prioritizing your mental health.

You should never feel guilty about taking time out for yourself. It can be difficult if you’re a people-pleaser to be okay with letting people down…but sometimes you just have to. There’s no way around it, in life you are always gonna disappoint people. So if you need to change plans don’t feel like you have to apologize. Instead of saying sorry, thank the person for understanding. Just be honest about how you are fragile you are feeling because we ALL have those days.

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm. Click To Tweet

Cancel plans that are causing you stress

If a particular meeting or event is making you extremely anxious then don’t go. You are an adult after all and that means you get to make your own decisions (that means cake for breakfast and leaving the party whenever YOU want to.) It’s okay to say ‘no’ if you won’t be able to give it 100%. 

But, if you do have to cancel then try your best to reschedule the meet-up again at another point. Don’t be that person who always cancels and never bothers to stay in touch. Ain’t nobody got time for friends like that!

Add a positive for every negative

When you take a look at your planner and see a day at you are particularly dreading, sprinkle in a little bit of self care to make the day more bearable. For every one planned event that you are really not looking forward to, add in something nice to make up for it.

It might be grabbing a coffee, taking a bubble bath or taking your lunch and eating it in the park. Treat yourself to something nice and you’ll see how much brighter your week will look.

Plan ahead to avoid stretching yourself thin

I am a planner addict. It’s the one thing that makes me feel like I’ve kinda got my life together. What I love about my planner is that I can see exactly what I’ve got going on and it makes it really easy to plan ahead and avoid over-scheduling. I personally cannot function if I have too many social events on one day because as much as I love my friends…I need my space.

You can’t be in two places at once and sometimes you can’t even be in the one place if you are feeling overwhelmed. Make sure you give yourself some room to breathe.


Here’s the thing you’ve got to remember: you cannot pour from an empty cup.

Letting people down is not an easy thing to do but it’s something I’m learning to be okay with. It is better to let people down from time to time than be a burnout people-pleaser who might just break at any second. I’m learning to prioritize self care so that I can be the BEST version of myself. 
inspirational quote, stop people pleasing., prioritize self care,

M x

Now tell me…

Are you a people pleaser?

How do you avoid that feeling of overwhelm?

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8 Comments

  1. I LOVE this and so, so need to hear it! I’m a people pleaser and a perfectionist and it’s just not a good combination when you’re in grad school and trying to find community at a new church, haha. I especially love it that you say “sometimes you can’t even be in the one place if you’re feeling overwhelmed” – such a good reminder that we can’t be where we need to be or do the work that we love or we’re called to until we take care of ourselves first.

    1. It’s SO HARD when you have a billion commitments and you just want to keep everybody happy. I’m currently trying to find my place at my church too…it’s not easy! I hope you fit right in there <3

  2. I’m definitely a people pleaser! I really love making sure that everyone is happy, even if that means I’m the last one on my list to make sure I’m okay. The planning ahead piece is still one I’m working on to make sure I don’t stretch myself too thin!

    1. Planning ahead helps so much. I love my planner…not only is it adorable, but it also saves me a lot of headaches haha. I loved in your recent post how you shared all of the ways you were taking time to slow down and appreciate your life. I think you’ve got this self care stuff pretty down pat!

  3. I think these are definitely things I’ve come to realise as I’ve begun ‘adulting’ – not to mention started shift work! And yet, I think there’s also a need to accept that some weeks are simply going to be crazy and we may not always have time for self-care… not because it’s not important, but because sometimes life is messy and loving people gets complicated!

    1. Life is totally messy and complicated! I totally admire people you have shift work…I would find it so exhausting! That takes a whole other level of planning.

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