5 Reasons Self-Care Isn't Selfish
Self-care means many different things to different people. For some, it’s regular bubble baths and massages. For others, it might be sipping coffee outside in the fresh morning air. Self-care can be anything that fills your soul, fuels your spirit. But how do we make the choice for self-care when we have so many other life responsibilities? That is the golden question.
We live in a society the prizes productivity and superficial success over all else. We are taught that our worth is valued by how much we can do and how fast we can do it. Time not spent being productive is time wasted. It’s one of the reasons we all struggled to adjust to the “stay at home” life when the pandemic hit. When we suddenly couldn’t do all the things we are normally obligated to do, we struggled with the shame of not being productive, of feeling lazy.
Taking time for yourself can feel selfish when, in the back of your mind, is a list of all the things you “should be doing.” It’s a hard mindset to break, believe me. I would like share some of the things that helped me realize that self-care is not selfish.
1. You alone are responsible for your health
If you don’t advocate for your health, who will? No one is going to make sure you get 8 hours of sleep, eat the greenest greens, wear your SPF, drink your weight in water, or move your body daily. Only you can do that. And since this is your only body, and (who-knows-maybe) your only life, it is your job to care for it. You are responsible for caring for you.
2. You are not exempt from exhaustion
You might remember a time in your life when you could consume copious amounts of sugar (or alcohol), stay up all night dancing, and still make it to 8am class without so much as a mild headache. Can I assume that’s no longer the case? Life caught up to you and yet you still try to cram more into a day than coffee can handle. You are tired. And you will continue to be forever tired if you don’t let yourself recharge. Slow down, superhero.
3. You don’t have to deserve you-time
Release the idea that you have to earn self-care. You don’t have to wait until your upper shoulders are crawling with knots to deserve a massage. You don’t have to experience a heartbreak to deserve a movie day in bed. If you want a glass of wine, have a glass of wine. Even if you had a pretty-okay day at work. Self-care doesn’t need to be justified.
4. Caring for you doesn’t mean you aren’t caring for others
In fact, it’s the opposite. You are not an endless watering can from which to pour into others. You can’t continue to care for others, whether at home or at work, if you are not caring for yourself. It will catch up to you. What good will you be to the people you care for when you are burnt out, running on fumes? Fill your cup so you can fill other’s too.
5. Self-care is self-love
In an ideal world all of our thoughts, words, and actions would come from a place of love. Ideal…not real, eye rollers. Selfishness is not an act of love, because it either disregards someone else’s wishes or benefits you in a way that harms others. Self-care doesn’t do that. Taking the time to care for you is one of the most loving things you can do. It’s okay that it’s for you. Show yourself some #love!
Try to do at least one thing, just for you, each day. It can be as small as closing your eyes and taking three slow, deep breaths. A moment to center yourself and be completely present without distraction. Sometimes that’s all it takes…