SELF-CARE VS. SELFISHNESS
One of the main reasons people give for not doing more for themselves is that they feel guilty about taking time away from their loved ones. Although this sentiment has altruistic intent, it may be a bit misguided. Is self care not important? Is it really selfish to want to do something just for you?
By definition, selfish means being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. What people really need to understand is that when they are taking time to prioritize their health, what they are doing is practicing “self care,” and that is by no means selfish.
So what is self-care? This is a phrase coined by the General Medical Council to encourage people to maintain good health through healthy lifestyle choices. So, some examples of self-care could be:
Getting adequate sleep each night
Eating a varied nutrient dense diet
Exercising regularly (Fun fact: 1 hour a day. Only 4% of the week!)
Sufficient rest and relaxation, including “offline” time
Some examples of being selfish could be:
Coming to work exhausted and not being able to complete your tasks
Maintaining a poor diet and passing on those habits to children
Spending too much time online and neglecting in-person relationships
Believing you’re not worthy of self care
Only self care contains behaviors with the potential to not only benefit our lives, but the lives of those we care for. If we’re tired, stressed, sick and over-weight, we are also typically short-tempered, self-deprecating and condescending to ourselves and those around us. Regularly practicing more positive behaviors could lead to a longer life, more energy, and higher self-esteem. It also makes it easier to get through our day, and as a result we are more pleasant to friends, family and co-workers.
So in short, if you’re looking to be a better parent, friend or spouse, augment your self-care. Value yourself enough to put yourself first, and you won’t be the only one reaping the rewards.