Self-care is not selfish. Let me repeat that… Self-care is NOT selfish. There is a huge difference between self-care and self-indulgence. Everyone needs and deserves self-care, but self-indulgence is something that should be used sparingly so as not to become entitled or self-absorbed.
So what is self-care? Quite simply, it’s caring for yourself. Taking the time to care for your body, your emotions, your mental wellbeing and, if applicable, your spiritual wellbeing. It’s seeing to the very basic needs of human life. Self-care looks different for everyone, but there are some super basic things that all people need:
· Personal hygiene
· Food and hydration
· Somewhere to sleep
Those 4 items are the barest necessities in order to function properly. We can go for a while without dealing with personal hygiene, and some do, but we all know that we usually feel a lot better if we wash our bodies, brush our teeth, brush our hair etc. Food and hydration are essential for staying alive, so that should not be avoided except for specific reasons (fasting etc). But to deprive your body of nutrients and water for long periods is dangerous.
Clothing is pretty essential too. Not everyone can afford new clothing, and that’s okay. But having some clean, fresh clothes to wear each day does wonders to improve morale. And having a place to sleep at night (or day if you work nights) is also very important.
What other things constitute as self-care?
Time for yourself can be so important. Allowing a portion of your day or week just for reflection, meditation or even just reading a book or watching a movie is very good for your emotional and mental wellbeing. Allowing yourself this time either daily or weekly is not indulgence or laziness. It’s setting aside some time to let your internal batteries recharge so that you are ready to tackle the next thing you need to do. Resting is essential for your health and mood.
How about learning something new? That could be learning a new recipe, or a language or even doing some sort of formal study. The day we stop learning is the day our brains begin to die. They say that those elderly people who continue to train their brains into learning skills or even just doing crossword puzzles, stay more mentally healthy than those who sit and do nothing or watch TV all day. Even if your body doesn’t work the way you’d like it to, either through illness or injury, you can still keep your mind agile.
Self-care can even be meeting with friends for coffee or having a date night with your partner. Working on relationships is very good for your mental and emotional wellbeing and helps to boost your mood.
Many people believe that taking time to care for themselves is the epitome of self-indulgence and selfishness and should be avoided at all cost. Honey, I don’t know who told you that, but they lied. And it was a vicious lie that has the potential to destroy your peace, your mental, emotional and physical health and disrupt relationships. It is OKAY to care for yourself as if you were caring for a dearest loved friend. If you can’t love yourself, how can you love others? In order to really be able to care for other people, you must first see to your own self-care.
What other ways can you think of that will help improve your health? Why not keep a journal of ideas that you can go to when you feel the need to take time out for yourself?
Peace to you