Do you keep feeling guilty about self-care and taking time to care for yourself? We tend to take care of others before we take care of ourselves. But the truth is, that we can’t take care of other people unless we also care for ourselves.
Have you ever been on a plane? In the beginning, they tell you that in case of the plane crashing, you need to put on the oxygen mask on yourself, even before you help your kid. And no, it’s not selfish.
The fact is though, that if you pass out from lack of oxygen (which can happen during seconds), you won’t be able to help your kid. Maybe you can’t quite compare self-care to lack of oxygen, but my point remains the same. You won’t be able to keep taking care of your family unless you start taking care of yourself as well.
We tend to neglect self-care though because most people feel as though it’s a selfish thing to indulge in. Especially when you have a family. You have probably felt guilty if you want to take a hot bath after your kids have gone to bed, but there are a million things to do around the house?
So, how do you stop feeling guilty about self-care? Keep reading to find out.
Why do we feel guilty about taking care of ourselves?
In the long run, you probably know that taking care of yourself will benefit you, right? However, whenever you start to take just 30 minutes to yourself for some peace and quiet, you immediately start feeling guilty, then ashamed, and then selfish.
This shouldn’t be the case. You should never feel guilty about self-care. Let’s take a look at more reasons, why we should stop feeling guilty about self-care.
You don’t really know what self-care means
Do you know what self-care really means? Truly? Or do you just think, that you know what self-care means? I know that many believe self-care to be something you do to escape your life.
If we break down self-care completely, it’s about taking care of yourself so that you don’t need to escape your life. You need to take care of your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.
There is absolutely nothing indulgent about this part of your life. You shouldn’t ever be feeling guilty about self-care. People who tend to put off taking care of themselves, tend to be more stressed and anxious in life. This is something we all want to avoid of course.
You believe that you need to prioritize self-care over something else
When it comes to self-care most people generally believe that you have to prioritize this over something else. And that that something else won’t get done if you prioritize self-care. That’s not true.
For most people self-care is at the bottom at their to-do list. It comes after work, family, chores, etc. The thing is though, when you put self-care after everything else, you will rarely get it done. You simply keep thinking of it as yet another thing, you need to get done.
In my opinion, and it should be your opinion too, self-care should come BEFORE any of the above mentioned. You need to prioritize self-care above all else in order to take care of others and get results at work. You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your kids.
Taking care of yourself makes you more equipped to handle stress
When you are feeling extra stressed from work or school, your cortisol levels are at their absolute highest. When they are at their highest, you are much more inclined to feel negative, irritable, and extra tired. When you are feeling like this it can be difficult to handle extra stress in your life.
Self-care practices can involve a lot of different things. It can be something as simple as mindfulness techniques. Something like intentional breathing techniques or a hot bath can help you activate your body’s relaxation response. This is the complete opposite of the fight and flight response your body activates when it’s stressed.
Imagine a Sunday like this:
You start the day out by working out in the nearest gym. Then you go to the sauna at your gym followed by a hot shower. After your workout and sauna session, you have lunch with a friend, and when you get home you lie down for a nap. For dinner, you enjoy your favorite comforting meal. Right before bed, you enjoy a guided meditation to help you sleep better.
How does that sound? I imagine you would feel quite rejuvenated come Monday morning. When you are feeling extra rejuvenated and refreshed you will be more effective at work, and you will be ready to help people around you.
I am aware, that you might not be able to take a whole day to yourself every Sunday. But even just taking an hour to yourself, before your kids wake up, or after your kids have gone to bed, will make a huge difference.
Self-care helps strengthen your immune system
Self-care activities and practices will strengthen your immune system. I am talking about practices like exercising, eating healthy meals and making sure you get enough sleep every night.
Mindfulness practices such as guided meditation routines and intentional breathing techniques can even improve your mental health if you struggle with anxiety, depression, and stress.
It makes sense that your immune system will be affected if you don’t take care of yourself. The mind and body are connected to the immune system. If your mental health has seen better days, your immune system will be weakened.
One of your top priorities should always be your mental health. I know it can be difficult to prioritize your own physical and mental health when you have both work and kids at home.
But you also can’t keep going on without taking care of your mental and emotional wellbeing. You can’t keep feeling guilty about self-care.
If you take care of yourself you start living instead of only existing
Most of us live on routine practices. We eat, we sleep, and we pay our bills. We do laundry, we clean, and we do errands. But do we really live intentionally? Sometimes it’s good for us to step out of our routines and do something for ourselves. Just for a few minutes or hours – in order to make life interesting and enjoyable.
Remember that being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to and taking care of your family. You absolutely have to stop feeling guilty about self-care. You are just as important as anyone else and yes, you do deserve to feel good.
What do you do to take care of yourself? Do you have a self-care Sunday? Let me know in the comments below…
Did you like this article? Be sure to share and save it on Pinterest and share it with your friends.
- Why self-care is wonderful for your mental health
- What’s inside my self-care toolkit?
- How to make a self-care toolkit for your mental health