Why you need to stop feeling guilty about self-care

Instagram and Pinterest make it seem like taking care of yourself is easy peasy, right? However, many of you definitely feel guilty about taking time to care for yourself. People tend to care for others before they care for themselves. Especially mothers.

But, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of other people as well. You might be good for a while, maybe even for years, but eventually, most people get stressed or anxious, because they forget to take care of themselves.

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 the 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, because there are a million things to do around the house, right?

So, how do you stop feeling guilty about self-care? Here’s a few reasons why you feel guilty.

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? But, 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?

Many people believe self-care is something you do to escape your life.

You don't really know what self-care means

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 feel 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.

You believe that you need to prioritize self-care over something else.

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.

Taking care of yourself makes you more equipped to handle stress.

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.

Having a self-care Sunday rejuvenates you for the week to come.

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.

If you take care of yourself you start living instead of only existing.

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…

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Why you need to stop feeling guilty about self-care

20 thoughts on “Why you need to stop feeling guilty about self-care”

  1. You are so right. A few years back I was experiencing high levels of stress, I was a newish mom with 3 kids under 3 and I had NO time for myself or for self-care. During those years, I was constantly sick, Everything I had to handle felt 10 times harder and everything I had to do always came before my own needs, I thought that was what it meant to be a good mom. I was wrong. When I figured it out and made some changes in my life everything changes for the better. So I agree with EVERY word in this post. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Ouch, that sounds rough though. And that’s exactly my point. If we don’t take care of ourselves and our own body, we can actually become more sick. We won’t be able to take care of others either if we forget about ourselves.
      Remember that you deserve to take care of yourself as well <3

  2. This is exactly what I needed to hear today, thank you. I can be very hard on myself sometimes, I forget to just breathe and actually relax. Tomorrow, I’ll have a self-care Saturday by just watching the tennis and rock climbing instead of blogging.

    1. I am so happy to hear you liked it. We tend to be way too hard on ourselves, but we have to remember to take care of us as well 🙂

  3. This is a really great read, thank you so much for sharing! I’ve made 2020 my year to practice more meaningful self-care and this has really reaffirmed what I need to do. It’s so easy to forget to look after yourself but so so important. Lovely post!

    1. You are so right. I am making 2020 the year to focus on myself and my own dreams as well as self-care. I have been neglecting my own mental health for too long and that should be no more 🙂
      We can do this!

      Thank you so much 🙂

  4. Great blog, well thought through with interesting and relevant content.

    It has taken me to my 40’s to realise the importance of self care. I am much happier now as a result!

    Keep spreading the word!

    1. Thank you so much 🙂

      I am happy to hear that you have finally begun to take care of yourself. Even if it is in your 40s. It’s never too late to start!

    1. You are definitely right. It’s in our genes to take care of others before we take care of ourselves. However, we are just as important as other people. That’s something we need to remember in the future 🙂

  5. Yes, this! I feel like I am constantly encouraging self-care for others and the one biggest excuse is “lack of time”. Which seems a little silly to me, only because I know that if you take the time to tend to your own needs, to really take care of yourself, you end up saving yourself time… sometimes a LOT of time. When you’re happier, more focused, well rested, etc. you function better. Period. Things get done more efficiently, you’re better equipped to handle challenging situations, and creative inspiring productive abilities flow with greater ease. We cannot afford to not practice self care.

    1. Oh yes, I have heard that excuse many times. Even just getting enough sleep can mean that you are taking care of yourself. You are right, that when we are better rested, we are more able to handle everyday life and all its challenges.

  6. Great post!! It’s far far too easy to feel like you can’t justify that time to yourself, but I love your comparison at the beginning – never thought of it that way. Sometimes instinct is just to keep going, but this a great reminder that it’s not indulgence, it’s just looking after yourself.

    1. I have always found that comparison to be so true. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to take care of others. Maybe you can do it for some years, but in the end, most people will experience burnout or stress. At least that is my experience.

      Thank you so much 🙂

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