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Is Self-Care Selfish?

Is self-care selfish?  Quite the opposite!  You’ve probably heard the saying that in order to take care of others you first have to take care of yourself.  Especially in today’s culture, setting aside time for self-care requires setting boundaries.  Many of us are overworked and stretched thin with our daily responsibilities; it can be hard to switch from focusing on production to creating space for rest and relaxation.  

Many people experience feelings of guilt associated with taking time for self-care.  Women often fulfill roles as caregivers and tend to put others before themselves, not only at home but also at the workplace.  The media often portrays self-care as indulgent, which can send a message to women that it is something they don’t need. 

Self-care is about identifying and meeting your needs so that you can be the best version of yourself.  While we all have some differing needs, some common and essential areas of self-care center around health promoting practices such as good sleep hygiene,eating nourishing foods, and getting adequate exercise.  Self-care also involves taking time to simply relax- something that can be looked down upon in cultures where productivity is highly valued. 

Setting boundaries is essential to living a lifestyle in which you don’t compromise on self-care.  Especially while living during a pandemic, with many people working from home, there is an increased need for setting work/life boundaries.  A good place to start is to commit to working within your paid hours and putting all work projects aside at all other times.  Some people also benefit from doing a relaxation practice right after work, to help clear their minds of work-related stresses.  If you don’t already do something like this, try doing a meditation, going for a walk, or engaging in a hobby, like crafting or cooking (something you enjoy!), to transition from the workday.  

Practicing self-care involves being mindful, paying attention to how you feel, and modifying your lifestyle where you can, to take better care of yourself.  For instance, while it might feel like fun to stay up late watching TV, you might notice that you feel very tired in the morning.  Setting a boundary with yourself, where you limit screen-time before bed, can be a self-care practice.  

There are many ways to implement self-care into your life.  While self-care requires time, you deserve it!  It is possible to incorporate self-care into your lifestyle so that it doesn’t feel like you “should” be doing something else.  As women, we tend to put other people first.  If you aren’t practicing good self-care, you run out of energy to support and uplift others.  It’s time to value self-care and model self-care for younger generations.  With today’s technologies, life can be extremely fast-paced.  Slow down and notice what is, and what is not, working in your life; implement self-care and don’t compromise on it. 

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