Self care and taking time for yourself is not selfish, indulgent, or some form of narcissism. Both our brains and our body need to recharge. That may very well be something different to everyone else, but the core service it provides is the same for all of us. This is an ideal I struggle with daily even though I know logically my protests are without legitimacy. As someone who also is trying to fight my own inner monologue my advice is punch yourself in the face! Not literally, but give yourself a solid verbal smack and do what you need.
Into the Mouth of Madness
I carry a tremendous amount of guilt whenever I do anything for myself. I think it started with family vacations when I was a kid and hearing my parents argue over how expensive things were and that we couldn’t afford things. Now I’m not sure how dire the scenarios were. My Dad certainly is frugal (I’m a chip off the old block) and my Mom is a bit of a shopaholic spender….so the truth is probably somewhere in between. Either way, the result was a child that felt guilt for doing self fulfilling fun things. It followed with birthdays, gifts, and anything that was ever in my honor. I was always hyper aware of what things cost, the time and effort devoted to anything for me, and it always seemed like it was a tremendous pain in the ass for everyone around me. Asking for favors or help wasn’t even an option. And to be fair this wasn’t shoved down my throat by my parents, it was just a hyper sensitive reaction to those around me. Eventually it turned into me constantly neglecting my own needs or carrying truck loads of guilt when I fulfilled them.
How This Impacts Everything Now
Skip ahead to being a mother, a professional, and a wife and I still fight that guilt. I find taking time to run, to read, to hop on a video game, or take a “girls trip” or go out on a school night (not that I actually want to) to come at a cost. No one in my home makes me feel that way. No one here expects me to make dinner every night, have the house clean, be perfect at work, find time to work out, dote on my hubby, have in depth conversations with my cat, and still look magnificent every day. Those are the hardships I plague myself with.
What can I do about it? Do the stuff anyway. Set time aside for my runs and just do them. Thank the older dragons for watching the littlest dragon so I can run or shower, let everyone fend for themselves for dinner on days I didn’t have time, take a bath instead of a shower, say yes to a girls weekend once in awhile, read for an afternoon, make time to write, buy myself that silly t-shirt, or play God on the Sims. Ask for help. (This is the hardest) Don’t apologize for these things. Instead, I say thank you to those around me that afford me that time.
The result is I’m a heck of a lot more pleasant to be around. I have more patience with all the dragons, I’m more focused when I’m working, and I’m more forgiving of myself. Essentially, I’m more happy and so is everyone around me. This is a daily battle, but I keep fighting it. It doesn’t matter how small the thing, we need to take care of ourselves if we have any hope of being happy. If we truly want those around us to be happy too then we need to lead by example. That business is contagious, just like a foul mood is. This also doesn’t mean you should take those little things for granted, but don’t deny yourself them either, whatever they are to you. Self care is NOT selfish, it is in fact self care. Love yourself as much as you can.