Self Care isn’t Selfish

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” ~ Deborah Day

 

A friend of mine has finally taken time out from her crazy over-giving-to-everyone-else-but-herself life to focus on her health. She’s run herself ragged, and her poor body is suffering from years of neglect, so she’s taking a month off to go to a health retreat and get some new strategies in place to turn her situation around.

Another friend has recently quit a long-term social group where she has been the President for over fifteen years so that she can spend weekends working on her art.

A mutual acquaintance shocked me when she said of these two women, “It’s a bit self-indulgent, don’t you think?”

Excuse me?

Since when has it been okay to forgo your own health, emotional well-being and dreams, forever putting your needs on the back burner while you collapse in a heap  from being there for everyone else?

Self care isn’t a natural act for most people anymore. Too many of my friends and clients have confided to me that they feel guilty about pursuing their own interests or taking time for themselves when they have jobs, partners, families, elderly parents and social obligations.

But if we keep drawing on our own energy to support others without ever filling ourselves back up, eventually we end up empty.  We lose ourselves.  We look in the mirror and don’t know who we are any more.  We become little more than machines.

 

When we don’t make time for ourselves the end result will never be pretty.  We burn out, we break down, we stop maintaining the habits and relationships that contributed to our wellbeing, and we often end up walking away from things that were actually good for us or that we were once passionate about.  I see this so often that I call it ‘burned out practitioner syndrome’ – people who worked at what they loved so unsustainably that they came to resent their work/art/relationships and became totally disconnected from their passion and purpose.

Self care isn’t selfish.  Self care is the single most important gift you can give to yourself and the relationships around you. If you don’t know where to start, here are some simple suggestions:

10 ways to be kind to yourself

Remembering to take care of you

Are you setting yourself up for failure this week?

 

16 thoughts on “Self Care isn’t Selfish

  1. I completely agree, Nicole. I think that one of the most challenging things is that if you have been the kind of person who gives and gives, when you pull back, people get offended. In the end, though, you always need to put yourself first or you won’t be help for anyone else.

    • Completely agree with you baconbiscuit212…..I am that type of person who always puts others’ needs first and try my best to be the most generous and giving person that I can….lately I have been pulling back a bit as I feel that I have been taken advantage of….I am now noticing who my firends really are as some are indeed taking offence…..

  2. I too have just come to conclusion it’s time for me first! I have slowly worn myself out and been run down by ill health to my lowest point before I saw the light! Aargh! Yes do what’s good for me first…rest fall Into place I remembered telling someone that a while ago…I should have been looking in the mirror when I said it. Never to late.! I have put plan in place and I’m on way back to me. Thank you for this assuring post. Much love always..xxxx

  3. I wonder how you have self care time when you dont have time? I’m a single parent and there really is no time. I find I get more stressed trying to add self care to the cleaning and working and all the other bits to get done. Rushed self care is not enjoyable 🙂

  4. I totally agree and have just decided recently that I HAVE HAD ENOUGH. I finally learned the hardest thing to say is”no I can’t ” and I don’t want to do that” I have spent my life in service to others and had lost my passion for the things that I love . Luckily I have a supportive husband encouraging me to do whatever I want to do. It’s still hard to shed that “helping” thing and I realize that that identity no longer serves me. Thank the heavens it is not to late to have fun again.

  5. I have learnt all these skills, after many years of stress, It’s my lovely husband that worries me . He hardly ever has time for himself, to do things he would love to do , he would rather see me chill out than himself . What do you do with a man like that ? no you can’t all have him he’s mine lol
    Thanks for that wonderful post Nicole .
    love Cherry xxxx

  6. Very timely, Nicole. I have been learning how to receive. It’s very uncomfortable for me to feel the energy of receiving after so many years of unbalanced giving. I am working with the imagery of receiving to the point of being completely filled up and spilling over. The spilling over is my new form of giving. So, now I am a vessel for love that fills up and spills over into the world. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in your posts.

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