Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

There are a ton of people in the blogosphere talking about “self-care”. The Life Edit Project is no exception—it’s one of the things we continuously promote and encourage women to do more often and in better ways.

But what the heck is self-care, anyways?

Poking around on the interwebs, I found two definitions that make it plain. According to Psych Central, “self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” The Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre gets even more basic, describing self-care as the type of care done “for you, by you.”

Simple, right? But just because the concept is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy to put into action.

Self-Care Is Simple, But Not Easy

So many of us are still trying to convince ourselves that we deserve to be taken care of. If that sounds like you, stop it. You don’t need permission to make yourself a priority. Ever. And you can’t afford to wait for someone else to make sure that you have what you need to be healthy and happy.

You don't need permission to make yourself a priority. Ever. #lifeeditproject Share on X

Self-care is about actively ensuring your own well-being. To do that, you must acknowledge your needs, validate them as worthy of attention, and be confident in your right and ability to handle them. In a word, you must be intentional about it. But many of us get stuck in a holding pattern that requires others to validate our needs, and without it, we don’t feel empowered to take care of ourselves. 

Selfish vs. Self-Focused

For so many of us, if we’re not in crisis, choosing to care for ourselves feels like a selfish act.  We believe that we only have permission to turn our attention on ourselves after someone else notices that we’re tired, worn down or stressed out. We think our needs aren’t legitimate until they become a problem for someone else.

And so we go about our lives taking care of everyone else. We think we can just use whatever time, energy or money we have left to treat ourselves to something nice, and that’s good enough, right? Wrong!  Proactively taking care of our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits positions us to show up fully in the rest of our lives, in the ways that matter most.  A good self-care routine can be the difference between surviving and thriving.

A good self-care routine can be the difference between surviving and thriving. Share on X

I’m a better mom when I’m not on the verge of a stress-induced meltdown that can be triggered by the smallest toddler tantrum. I’m a better wife when I’m not so starved for personal space that I feel too smothered to even share the couch with my husband. I’m better at my job when my personal life isn’t in chaos, making it so hard for me to concentrate that it takes me 15 minutes to write a 2-minute email.

You can be a priority in your own life without feeling guilty, so go ahead and choose to focus on yourself. Ask yourself what you need to be your best self, and give yourself permission to do and have those things.

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