How to Start Focusing on Yourself


Sabrina Ho

Making sure you are taking care of yourself and are happy with the life you are living is a practice often glossed over in our fast-paced world. Putting time into your relationships with others is undoubtedly a good thing; however, it is vital that you are not neglecting your own needs. If you are living life only to make others happy, you may find yourself to feel drained and unable to be your best self.

Focusing on yourself is not selfish; rather, it is an act of self-love, which is a crucial aspect of mental health. The Paw Print sat down with West Ranch’s wellness center coordinator, Nancy Phillips, to put together tips that can help you to focus on yourself. 


Tip 1: Start by making small changes

Learning to focus on yourself is a process that will not just happen overnight. Once you figure out your overarching goals, try to set smaller goals for yourself that will set you up for success. If you do not know where to start, try reflecting on different parts of your life like your career, physical health, and relationships, and think about how you would like to improve in these areas. You can start by focusing on your basic needs: sleeping enough, eating well, taking breaks, and moving around. After accomplishing these small goals, you will be positioned to  accomplish the bigger goals you have in mind.


Tip 2: Positive affirmations

Many people are caught in a web of negative thoughts about themselves. If you neglect yourself frequently, you will start to believe the things you are saying and that you are not good enough. This headspace can drag your mental health, relationships, and life as a whole. 

However, if you choose to do the opposite and say positive affirmations to yourself, it will help you believe that you are worthy and be far more helpful in this self-love journey. 

“One thing I have been trying to share with people are positive affirmations,” Mrs. Phillips explained. “Even though you might not want to say it to anyone else because it might not seem humble or modest, it is important to really think or say it in a private spot. You can use that idea of grounding and mindfulness and allowing yourself to be quiet for a second, then think about those strengths and positive traits you have and then building on those while thinking about what is bringing you down and reflect on what words am I using in my own mind that are not helping. This can help your brain to send those positive messages to yourself and it can help with one’s self esteem.”

A great way to include these positive affirmations into your everyday routine is to wake up and start your day with some reassuring thoughts like “I am worthy, this is how I feel about myself, this is how I want my day to go.” Once in a while you may have to give yourself a little pick-me-up with those affirmations throughout the day. 


Tip 3 : Be aware of your relationships with others

Sometimes there comes a point in a friendship where you realize that it is difficult and you might be better off without it. It is important to be honest and transparent with both yourself and your friends about how you feel in your relationship. Being aware of who makes you feel your best is important so you can emanate positive feelings towards others, something you can’t do if you are not feeling good where you are in that friendship. 

Mrs. Phillips shared that, “It’s difficult to sometimes let go of those toxic relationships that are in your life so kind be mindful and seek out the people who are positive supports and are healthy relationships to maintain.”

Sometimes you have to reach out to your friends and be open with how you truly feel about the friendship. You can always look to your family, friends, and/or other trusted adults to support you in these difficult times. 


Tip 4: Put some time aside to relax

Having time to just relax and take a break from the chaos in your life allows you to turn towards yourself and reflect.  

“Mindfulness and thinking about where you are and who you are in relation to who you want to be is really important,” Mrs. Phillips explained. “Kind of calming your mind to allow yourself to really see where you are and not let so much of that outside noise get into how you are feeling about yourself.”

It all depends on what you like to do and how you like to calm down and release energy. One great way to relax is meditation. Although it may sound intimidating, you just need to take a couple minutes to let your mind calm itself down. Another relaxing and introspective practice is journaling. You can always pick up a journal and jot your feelings down to clear your mind. Allowing your mind to relax in the midst of a busy day will allow you to see things more clearly.


Tip 5: Spend time doing things you love

Spending time taking part in activities you love alone or with loved ones can help avoid burnout from a chaotic day. This practice is very personal; some people like to be physical, while others like to be creative. Exploring new hobbies or rediscovering old ones can be a great way to relieve your stress and focus on your mental health.

“Sometimes you have to just take a minute and realize there might not be hobbies, but what kind of makes you feel comfortable and then from that point just continue working with a mindful movement for change,” Mrs. Phillips shared.


Tip 6: Balance time on social media

Social media is something that many people find themselves using on a daily basis. When we are looking at all of the wonderful things people might be sharing, it is really easy for us to start comparing ourselves. However, comparing ourselves is troublesome when it starts to distract you from your values and diminish your self-worth. You may start to be motivated to achieve something that you do not want because you think it will satisfy you. 

Mrs. Phillips explained, “You do not need to necessarily not do social media, but I think there is a real need to balance that with grounding yourself.”

If you ever find yourself comparing yourself to others on social media, try thinking about what your goals are and not the ones of others. What is important to me? What do I want to do with my life? What makes me happy?


When reflecting on the importance of focusing on yourself, Mrs. Phillips shared, “I do think that it is important. I think it is difficult but I think it is really important because everything that we are learning in wellness has to do with being present in your own mind and being able to think about where you are and where you want to be.” 

The act of focusing on yourself is not as selfish as some believe it to be. It is one of the best things to do for yourself and others. 

If you find yourself struggling with this, feel free to visit the wellness center at for guidance in this process.