Has that little voice in the back of your mind been telling you that maybe it’s time to cut back on your “you” time? Or maybe you’re feeling like you should be focusing less energy on self-care and giving more attention to your other “priorities”. As much as being there for others and attending to daily responsibilities is great, we often do this at the expense of our health and well-being. However, the fact is self-care is not selfish.
Knowing this, why is it then that we begin to experience doubt, discomfort, and even guilt whenever it comes to prioritizing self-care? Despite all the self-care tips and self-care strategies that exist, having an unhealthy mindset about it will likely get in the way of your ability to practice self-care unapologetically. And so, it’s important to unpack where any contrasting feelings and beliefs about self-care stem from. Let’s start with the notion that self-care is selfish. To trump this idea, we need to understand that taking care of oneself doesn’t mean neglecting others.
Misdefining self-care and equating it with being selfish is where we often go wrong and are then left with feelings of guilt about making time to care for self and carry out our regular self-care routines. When we look at the definition of self-care, which is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health, it would require a lack of self-love to not see it as an essential part of every lifestyle. In contrast, selfishness is being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.
Moreover, if that last definition still doesn’t leave you feeling settled about practicing self-care unapologetically, here are 3 practical reasons why self-care isn’t selfish:
1. Self-care allows you to show up fully in your relationships.
When you don’t prioritize yourself, you end up leaving you with very little to run on or draw from. Feeling depleted, overworked, and unfulfilled, means that you’re not 100% for yourself or for others. The quality of your relationships is further impacted because the ability to build and foster healthy ones becomes compromised by your inability to show up whole.
2. Self-care allows you to perform better in each of your roles.
Whether you’re attending to duties as a parent, partner, or a working professional, if you haven’t taken the time needed to fuel your mind, body, soul, and spirit, giving your best effort will be a major challenge. When we look at burnout, stress, and anxiety, this often comes from neglecting our needs in the areas mentioned, which ultimately affects our performance and ability to deliver in our daily roles.
3. Self-care improves the quality of your health/wellbeing.
This is the most apparent considering the way self-care is defined. Being able to incorporate self-care ideas that replenish your mind, body, soul, and spirit allows the quality of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health to improve. Activities such as exercise, healthy eating, resting, and praying all help to improve your mindset, mood, and your overall health—enabling you to be the best version of you in the lives of your friends and loved ones, but most importantly for yourself.
Here a few action steps that you can take today:
- List any limiting beliefs that you have about self-care.
- List 3 things you plan to do to improve your self-care routine.