Why Self Care is Not Selfish
We all know that selfishness is bad. We are taught as children to think of others, be considerate, and compassionate. And that’s good! But we don’t always get taught to be considerate of ourselves. We spend so much time every day working on our responsibilities and duties. So it’s easy to forget about our own needs. It’s hard sometimes to slow down and think, ‘am I getting what I need?’
We want to tell you that there’s nothing selfish about taking care of yourself. You are worth prioritising. So let’s look at a few of the reasons you may be afraid to do self-care. And more importantly, find a way to move past that.
You can’t take care of everyone else if you don’t take care of yourself
Do you ever feel like you have the world on your shoulders? And if you stop for a break, everyone around you will suffer and fall apart? We all have important people in our lives. Many of us are parents and spouses, as well as an employees and employers. It can be even more demanding if you’re a carer for an aged parent or a child with a disability. It’s easy to get so caught up in helping them that you forget to help yourself.
Why is that so bad? Well here’s a thought: Why do airplanes say in an emergency, ‘put on your oxygen mask first, then help those around you,’? They say that because you will help others better if you’ve helped yourself first. You can’t help someone else if you’re incapacitated.
So take care of yourself first. The people in your life will understand. And you’ll be able to help them even better if you’ve taken the time to strengthen yourself first.
Everyone needs a break
Do you ever say, ‘I just don’t have the time?’ Well, time is rarely the problem. Usually we’re too busy because we have too much to do in the time we have available. It’s easy to become too busy. But when we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by all the things on our plate, it’s important to stop and ask, ‘Am I doing too much? What do I need to drop?’. We need rest in order to work well. If you have too much work on, the solution may not be to just work longer and harder. The solution might be to rest up! Then come back to work with a full tank.
Take a break.
Set aside time on weekends for rest. Hire a babysitter every once in a while. Book a holiday, or even just a weekend away. You will thank yourself.
Don’t be Afraid of Disappointing Someone
No one wants to be a disappointment. It can really hurt to let someone down. And many of us feel like if we stop to take care of ourselves, it will disappoint someone else. That might be because we’re trying to be perfect. And that is a fast track to being exhausted.
No one can be perfect. But we all try to be at some point! We can work so hard at being perfect. We fight to keep working overtime. Or we keep volunteering for extra activities we don’t have the time for. Sometimes, we don’t need to change so much as simply let go.
Letting go of the need to be perfect is hard. And scary. But you’re not going to disappoint anyone if you stop to take care of yourself. The people who love you already want you to self-care! So don’t be afraid. Do some self-care. You’re not letting anyone down by doing that.
This is possibly the hardest part of self-care. It might mean saying no to someone else when they ask for help. You have to remember, you can’t donate money if your bank account is empty. In the same way, you can’t help someone else if you haven’t helped yourself. You have to make sure you have the capacity.
Also, if you need to fuel yourself up, you can just say so. You don’t have to make an excuse. Tell your friend, ‘I’m sorry I can’t do that. It’s not because I’m busy, it’s just because I’m exhausted and I need to rest.’ The world won’t end. So get to know your limits, and if someone asks you to go beyond them, just say no.
Don’t be Afraid to Try
When life has been chaotic for so long, it’s easy to just accept it that way. Sometimes we want to get more exercise, but it’s too difficult to start a new routine. Or we need time off work, but it’s too hard to organise. If we think it’s too much work to change, we might never TRY.
If you want to achieve something, you have to start working at it and not give up until it’s done. Sometimes starting is the hardest part! It takes courage. But you can do this.
Try to self-care. And don’t give up. You can do this. You are never selfish when you take care of yourself. You a proving that you are special and valuable, and that’s a healthy attitude to have about yourself. At the end of the day, no one else can self-care for you. It’s up to you to take care of yourself.