Self Care Is Not Selfish

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including YOU!
~Unknown

There’s a big difference between self-care and being selfish.

I think there is a misconception that self-care is a case of self-indulgence. And in all honesty, I am also a fan of the latter, what’s wrong with (according to the Cambridge Dictionary), the act of allowing yourself to have or do anything that you enjoy? But that aside, self-care is different.

It’s self-preservation.

So what exactly is self-care?

It’s a popular term these days but basically, it is anything you do or say which is being kind and good to yourself. It’s about allowing our coping mechanisms to kick in, not the negative ones such as binge drinking and drug taking, but the ones which give us time and space to recharge and replenish the body and mind.

Being selfish, however, is taking or having a desire to take from others.

Why is self-care good for us?

Before taking off on a plane, the safety video plays and one of the pieces of advice given is that in the unlikely event of an incident, you should always put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. This is because if you tried to help someone else before putting on your own mask, you could end up passing out before you have even been able to help them.

The same principle applies to our day to day lives.

How can we help others if we are running on empty? It’s important to give ourselves time to do the things we enjoy, the things which make us happy as not only does it improve mood and energy levels, it helps us to become better people in general.

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Photo Cred: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

How can we practice self-care?

There are so many ways in which you can give yourself some lovin’ and this also depends on the kind of things which make you feel happy and grateful. They can be as small and as big as you like…

  • Feeling the hot sun on your skin
  • Cuddling a pet
  • Meditating
  • Singing to your favourite song
  • Reading a book
  • Cooking yourself a meal
  • Having a long lie in
  • Switching your phone off for a while
  • Having a bubble bath
  • Going for a walk
  • Having a Netflix binge
  • Watching your favourite movie
  • Having coffee or brunch with a like-minded, positive friend
  • Saying “No” to things you don’t want to do or feel obliged to do
  • Standing up for yourself
  • Taking up a new hobby
  • Learning a new language
  • Laughing!
Self care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.
You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
~Eleanor Brown

Whatever you choose to do in order to practice self-care will help you from just existing to living, being able to fully enjoy your experiences.

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Photo Cred: Kinga Cichewicz / Unsplash

One of the hardest things for me is being able to say “No” to things without feeling overwhelmed with guilt. And if the guilt trip comments are thrown at you for being selfish, it might be time to reassess the relationship you have with that person. When self-care becomes bottom of the priority list, your work, focus and relationships will eventually suffer.

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Photo Cred: Mutzii / Unsplash

So don’t forget, self-care is not being selfish, neither is putting yourself first. Having a healthy relationship with ourselves is vital so we can be the best version of ourselves with a less stressful life.

How do you practice self-care? Do you find it difficult to do?
I would love to hear your thoughts!

By Nicci McShane

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