Have you caught yourself feeling guilty and ashamed for taking some time for yourself?
Is your “me time” filled with stress and anxiety?
You are not alone. And here’s a simple tip on how to change that.
Self care vs self-indulgence
First things first – what is self care?
Not every form of feel-good recreational activity is self care. Binge watching that show might feel good but it is not self care (that’s not to say you shouldn’t do it once in a while, just don’t confuse it with self care).
Sitting on the couch scrolling through social media is not self care. In fact it is proven to be detrimental for your mental health.
So what is self care?
Essentially self care is any activity that works towards meeting your physical, emotional or spiritual needs in a healthy way.
Needs like good nutrition, enough rest, communication and connection, comfort (both physical and emotional), affection, safety.
Why do you feel guilty for practicing self-care?
Two of the main reasons people feel guilty for spending time for self care are:
- You think it’s selfish
Selfishness is having a “me, me, me” mentality. You are selfish if you only think of your own needs without any consideration for others and their needs.
A healthy dose of selfishness is needed. Putting yourself and your needs as a priority every once in a while is a necessity.
You know you “cannot pour from an empty cup” and by filling your own cup you provide yourself with the resources needed to keep taking care of the people and things you love.
- You feel you have to earn it
Oftentimes you cannot sit back and relax without having all your chores for the day done. And if by any chance you do decide to take some “me” time beforehand you feel guilty and anxious. As if someone is going to come up and scold you for it. You even end up scolding yourself. You feel so overwhelmed by the neverending list of things to do and become stressed about it every time you try to relax.
This one is deeply rooted in your childhood. You cannot go out and play until you finish your homework, remember? And while there were good intentions behind this rule, some of us have taken it all too seriously as grown ups as well.
But as grown ups the “homework” is neverending. Literally. You will never have nothing to do. So learning how to step away from the to-do list and rest efficiently is crucial.
How to stop feeling guilt when taking time for self care
Understand what self care really is.
You are at your best when you are well rested and recharged both physically and mentally. Taking a break does not take away from your productivity, it fuels it.
A tired body and a cluttered mind function slower and make more mistakes. This further increases the stress you are under and takes a strain on you and on your relationships.
Understand that taking care of your needs is as important and as productive as any other task on your schedule. You wouldn’t skip fueling your car because you have somewhere to drive to. You know that you have to fuel up exactly because you have somewhere to drive to.
Give yourself permission to prioritize your needs. Remember you’re not just “resting”, you are “recovering”. You are recharging in order to be able to do your best and to be your best.
Go ahead and add self care to your to-do list. Add it to your calendar so people would know not to bother you. Make an appointment with yourself and show up to it.
Make self-care a regular part of your routine. Taking a break should not be a prize or a last resort. Taking care of yourself is a necessity and realizing that will end your struggles with self care.