The Line Between Self-Care and Selfish

Have you ever wanted to do something for yourself but you didn’t because you felt like you were being selfish? Or maybe you did do something for yourself but you felt guilty before or after. It’s a common misconception that doing something to better yourself is selfish.

As humans, we are taught to care for others. We are expected to give our all to our children and partners, or so it feels based on societal pressures. Women are biologically wired to nurture. Men are expected to provide. Although society seems to be slowly breaking away from the expectation that men are responsible for fully providing for their families, it is still very prevalent. The question is, how can you give someone your all when you aren’t maintaining yourself?

The answer is you can’t. You can’t give someone your all, or even close to your all, when you have nothing left to give. When you stop taking care of yourself and exert all your energy caring for others you lose momentum and eventually, you will break down.

Sometimes we’re so busy we just simply forget to slow down and take a moment for ourselves. Trust me, I’ve been there way to many times to count. Honestly, I’ve been there for most of my adult and even teenage life. This is where mindfulness does wonders. When you are mindful of your activities and your body, you’ll recognize when you’re running on empty. Getting to know your body through mindfulness allows you to recognize the queues your body gives you when you need to stop and take a moment for yourself. Before I knew how to pay attention to myself, I felt the effects of not caring for myself. They were horrible and I constantly made excuses for them but looking back, I know it was all because I wasn’t giving myself the attention I needed.

Some effects of not giving yourself the care you require are:

  • Constantly feeling exhausted
  • Being easily irritated
  • Feeling angry often
  • Relying on a substance like coffee, alcohol, drugs, etc. to just get you through the day
  • Getting sick easily
  • Body aches and pain
  • Just generally not feeling well

Caring for yourself gives you the well-being and energy to be able to adequately care for others. You cannot give your energy to someone else when you’ve used it all up and have done nothing to replenish it! You must take some time out to do something that allows you to rest or something that helps you raise your vibrations and gain your energy back.

This doesn’t mean go take a nap or sleep in. Of course these will help you rest and get the sleep you need but these things won’t necessarily renew your energy. You have to find something that raises your vibrations on a personal level. Your self-care activities might be completely different than someone else’s. For example, an artist might feel energized and at peace while they are drawing, but someone that isn’t so artistic like myself would feel stressed out at trying to draw. Here are a few examples of things you can try to see what works for you:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Crafting
  • Art
  • Music (creating or listening)
  • A relaxing candle lit bath in the peace and quiet
  • Taking a walk through the forest or park
  • Use crystals
  • Write

Now, as I said, these are just a few examples of things that can help you center yourself and bring your energy levels back up. Of course, caring for yourself also means you need to visit a doctor on a regular basis, see a dentist, care for your personal hygiene, and all that normal boring stuff but people also need an activity that will care for their mental, spiritual, and intellectual side as well. Caring for your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health and I think a lot of people forget that.

The things I’ve found recently that help me replenish my energy and care for myself are using my crystals, writing, reading about mindfulness or something similar, meditate, and anything else that calls to my soul as I come across it. It doesn’t always have to be the same thing each time, and it shouldn’t. You want options. For example, I love to write, but I don’t always want to write. Sometimes it just adds more stress and I just want to sit in the quiet and meditate. It really just depends on the day and what my mind and body need at that moment.

So, take a little time this week to care for yourself. I promise, it is not selfish and if someone tells you it is, it’s just because they need to take a little time for themselves as well. This can even include making a list of the things you can do to care for yourself. Start out slow and work into it. Or if you’re like me, just jump right in and get started! Let me know in the comments how you boost your energy through self-care!

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