Self-care has become somewhat of a buzzword in the health and wellness community as of late. Of course, it can mean different things to different people. Some activities that are often considered self-care? Exercise, like going for a walk, meditation, and yoga all fall under the "self-care" category.
There are other activities that fall into self-care too, but they sometimes come with a side of guilt. Things like getting your nails done, taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, or taking the time to sit and read a book. When we take this very necessary "me time" we may be plagued with the question: am I being selfish?
Essentially, self-care is anything that you do to take care of yourself. It can be something you do to support yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. It is generally done alone, and it gives you an opportunity to recharge and emerge refreshed and renewed.
So, why do people so often avoid activities like these? Basically, because they make people feel selfish. They take time out of an otherwise busy day—time that could be spent doing something else, and often for someone else.
Let’s face it: we spend most of our day doing things for other people. We go to work and do various jobs and tasks for our bosses. We spend time at home with our families, spouses, or kids and we focus on cooking for them, cleaning up after them, helping them with homework, etc. All day long we find ourselves focusing on what we have to get done, and what we may have to do for others.
But here’s the thing: you can’t pour from an empty cup.
We’re only human, and we’ve all gotten to that point of burnout at one time or another. Whether it be in a job, a relationship, or another facet of life—everyone has reached that last straw. You find that you’ve exhausted all possible energy, and you simply can’t do it anymore.
Self-care is done to prevent this burnout. This last straw scenario. This dead end. It’s like refueling a car or recharging a cellphone battery. It's necessary maintenance. You have to set aside the time to do it before it completely dies, or you could be in big trouble.
If you really want to help others, well, you have to help yourself, too. Your own self-care has to come first. Don't allow yourself to take on guilt—or feel as though you're being selfish—just because you’re doing something for yourself. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of other tasks, and other people, too.
Self-care activities grant you a healthier body, a stronger spirit, and a clearer mind.
So, self-care isn’t selfish. In fact, it’s essential.
Take that time to read a book that speaks to your soul, or go to that yoga class that leaves you feeling like you’re walking on clouds. At first it may feel like you’re being selfish by taking this time for yourself, but remember that with this time you’ll be able to tackle any task, and help others ten times better than you could have without it.
Photo by Kylie Turley