Featured Image Caption: Girl Drinking Coffee and Reading Book in Room
Most people are taught at a young age that they need to be completely selfless, no matter the personal cost that doing so takes. The media perpetuates this belief by showing that being a good friend means you always have to be ready to drop anything if someone needs you. However, the fact of the matter is that this is not always possible, and it is not always good for your physical or mental well-being to do so. Building boundaries with others is the best ways to help you avoid always feeling like you have to drop everything, but it can still make a person feel guilty about saying no. Here, we will look more at why it is not selfish for you to prioritize self-care.
Depleting Yourself Means You Have Nothing to Give
You have your personal responsibilities, plus any within your home, like taking care of your kids, household chores, and cooking. If you fill up all of your spare time with helping other people constantly and not putting any of that into your personal self-care, you are going to end up draining yourself completely.
Something like helping a friend, taking care of your kids, or doing a favor for a family member can stop being something you do because you care about that person and become a chore that you have to do. The more you drain yourself, the more your mental health can suffer.
If you make self-care a priority, then when you do help others, you will want to do it and will engage instead of going through the motions. Your kids, friends, and family will see the difference in how you engage when you do something to help them.
You Can Lose Yourself in the “Go, Go, Go” Mentality
Many people, especially parents, go above and beyond for their kids all the time. Their lives are centered around being their kids’ chauffeur, chef, maid, and coach for their kids, making their entire worth surrounded around the sacrifices they make for their kids. However, when you fall into that “go, go, go” mentality, you can begin to lose yourself. You might sacrifice engaging in your own interests because there is no time in between everything for your kids. You might end up becoming disconnected from your friends, and even your relationship with your spouse might suffer. You are giving up parts of who you are to make everything about your children, which is not good for your mental health at all.
Self-Care Can Recharge You
What do you love to do? How often do you get to do it? You might think it is selfish to take a bubble bath to unwind after a long day, take a night off from the kids for date night, drawing, painting, reading, or whatever it is you find relaxing, but it will recharge your batteries. Taking care of your needs is not selfish, even if that means you do not answer the phone because your friend is having a personal crisis. By taking care of yourself, you will be able to give your family and friends a happier and more present version of yourself.
You Fail to Practice Compassion for Yourself
When you sacrifice too much of your time and energy for the things that you think you should do for other people, you can stop being kind to yourself and practicing self-compassion. Not being nice and compassionate to yourself can make your relationships and life suffer. While you might think that you should drop everything and be selfless, without practicing self-care, you can become overwhelmed.
It can take some practice with self-compassion before it becomes a natural part of your mentality, but it is crucial that you do so. Do not judge yourself as selfish because you are taking time for yourself. You have needs that need to be tended to, just like everyone else.
Self-Care and Mental Health
Your mental health is important, and by establishing boundaries and practicing self-care, you are helping nurture it. This is especially important if you have mental health issues like depression or anxiety. While you might not be able to practice more time-consuming forms of self-care on a daily basis, you can do some smaller things. Take a short walk, read a chapter in a book, doodle on a piece of paper while you work, use an anxiety and panic attack relief app, or even just unwind with a quick bubble bath or hot shower after a long day. Try to be kinder to yourself and remind yourself that even though you have been told that putting your needs first is selfish, it truly is not. You cannot do everything, and trying to do everything for everyone in your life will drain you, and your mental health will begin to suffer.
By Auz Burger
who is a freelance writer who has been writing and editing professionally for over a decade. She has a BA from Washington State University Vancouver.
Member since April, 2023
View all the articles of Auz Burger.
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