Self-care is a big thing nowadays. Advertisements plastered all over social media promoting the latest handbags (retail therapy), body massages, facials, health spas, bubble baths, exercise workouts, Tibetian singing bowls, etc., encourage you to take care of yourself.
Everyone must take care of their wellbeing physically, mentally and spiritually. By caring for your wellbeing regularly, you heal your body and become a better and stronger person to tackle everyday pressures.
So why do we still feel self-care is being selfish?
It really doesn’t matter to most people if you are both physically and emotionally drained, or that you might be heading for a nervous breakdown because of what others see as a “small” problem.
For example, given the chance to organize a corporate dinner, might be daunting if you lack social planning skills (should I order red wine or white wine?), but turning down such an important assignment could be a sign of incompetence, so you decide to accept this assignment and rough it out.
Accepting an assignment which is beyond your capability can wreck your mental health (can I manage on my own?), physical health (so much running around to do) and emotional health (I just know it’s going to be a disaster!). Will you really be selfish if you prioritize yourself and your health by turning down the assignment?
An example of selflessness would be to accept an invitation to attend a social event you really don’t want to attend. Why not be selfish instead and just say “no” to preserve your sanity, since you know you have to dress up to attend an event that will bore you to death, and the food won’t be great anyway.
What it actually means to be selfish
When we say “don’t be selfish”, we generally make reference to not sharing something, not being considerate or not participating in an event that everyone else is, and be deemed a spoilsport.
But if you be selfish with the intention of self-care for your own wellbeing, then selfishness takes on a totally different meaning. We are all important and we need to put ourselves first.
When to be selfish and practice self-care?
Be selfish to recharge yourself and your sanity after an exhausting time at work. Re-charge by treating yourself to a nice facial, full massage, going to the movies, having a nice meal, or just hanging out with your pals.
Instead of feeling desperate and a sure-to-be failure, be selfish and ask for help when you need it. Nobody can do everything on their own, and as the idiom goes, many hands make light work.
Besides, it helps having a different point of view as a different solution may present itself to the problem/s you may be facing, e.g., how do draw up a proper seating plan for that corporate dinner, so two clashing personalities do not end up sitting next to each other.
Be selfish and ask for help when you are run down and need to take a break. When you are on your toes constantly for an important assignment, you need breaks to catch your breath and compose yourself.
Be selfish and get your sleep. Your body needs to rest to re-charge itself. Insufficient sleep leads to consequences like a weakened immune system, trouble focusing and memory loss. Make sleep a priority!
Take care of yourself and end an unhealthy relationship. You need courage to do this, but the longer you avoid it, the more you will suffer the physical and emotional effects of an unhealthy relationship. The same advice goes if you are in an unhappy job.
Be selfish and re-evaluate your lifestyle. If you feel tired constantly and grumpy, practice self-care by signing up for gym classes, baking classes, yoga classes, or even simple meditation, all of which are great stress busters.
Be selfish and plan some time to be alone. Talk to your partner or family to take the kids off your hands for a few hours each week, so you can re-charge.
Bottom line – we are all human with emotional, mental and physical needs that must be taken care of if we are to function at our best. We need to be selfish and practice self-care for our own wellbeing, as nobody can do this for us.
It is not a bad thing to be selfish to care for yourself. Repeat this mantra – I will not feel guilty for being selfish to practice self-care.
11th August 19:50 2020