Why Self-Care Isn't Selfish
Self-care isn't selfish.
That's an old belief that keeps you from getting what you need. When you put yourself last for the sake of others, resentment always follows. Your relationships become an obligation instead of a joy.
Recognizing that you may NOT be taking care of yourself is the first step in changing it. In 12 step programs there is a powerful acronym called H-A-L-T which stands for Don't get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Being sick applies because not feeling well messes with your emotions too.
If you find yourself reacting more than usual, HALT might be the problem. HALT is a great reminder to do a quick spot check on your self-care. If one of these are out of whack, you'll feel it.
You only get one body
It's easy to take your health for granted until you hear about someone who is sick. You have a moment of gratitude but nothing really changes. Doing what you can to stay healthy is a huge part of self-care.
Since this is the only body you'll get - why not treat it well?
Get an extra hour of sleep and eat a good breakfast. Take a brisk walk during lunch to decompress. The endorphin rush is a better mood booster than a drink or eating sugar - without the guilt.
With healthier habits, emotions become more manageable. Stress and irritability often decrease. Listen to your body. It will tell you what isn't working.
You deserve to feel good
If you aren't enjoying life, something needs to change. Life isn't meant to be a drag.
Think about what makes you happy. Is it working out, or cooking, or getting out in nature? Take steps towards making it happen.
Now, if you're thinking, "I can't do that. I'm too busy or I don't have the money."
When you're willing to work past the obstacles it makes achieving that goal even sweeter. Find some way to bring happiness closer to you. Starting small helps.
Managing emotions makes life easier
Knowing how you feel is a guidepost for self-care. Feelings guide you towards what you need in that moment. Be present and and let them happen.
If you were raised in a family where emotions weren't handled well, you may not know how to deal with them.
Here are some ways to handle emotions more effectively.
Tips for managing emotions
- Start paying attention to how you feel
- Rate your stress level from 1-10
- Use journal writing to find the upset
- Talk it out with trusted friends
- Notice bodily symptoms like clenched teeth, muscle tension (anger), a pit in the stomach (fear), chest expanding (happy), lump in the throat, empty ache (sadness) to identify emotions
If you aren't aware of your feelings because you're more focused on taking care of others, read my blog titled Are You Codependent?
Other tips for self-care
- Avoid isolation.
- Practice your faith or find one that works for you.
- Make fun a priority.
- Find your passion.
- Try a support group.
- Seek outside support if you are having trouble.
- Listen to inspirational podcasts.
Why self-care pay offs
When self-care isn't a priority, you suffer the consequences.
- Emotions get harder to control.
- Arguments increase because you are running on empty.
- You're not as productive because you're tired and less patient.
- Without self-care, relationships can feel like a burden.
You have the power to change that.
Good self-care sets the stage for everything else. Making self-care a priority gives you more energy. Reactions are easier to control when you've had a good night's sleep or had a healthy breakfast. You can enjoy the little things because you aren't on overwhelm.
You deserve to take care of yourself, not just everyone else.
Putting your needs first isn't selfish. Ironically, you can give more because you'll be at choice. Once your needs are met, your happy to give. It start with you!