Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish — And How to Stop Thinking It Is
We spend so much time caring for others that it’s easy to forget about our own needs or push them to the backburner. We have busy lives and stressful jobs, and it can sometimes feel like we simply don’t have the time to take a step back and care for ourselves.
And when we do prioritize ourselves, it’s common to feel guilty or wonder if we are being selfish by practicing self-care.
But the truth is self-care is not selfish — it’s absolutely essential to our health, happiness, and wellness. Let’s dig into what self-care is so we can stop those feelings of guilt and selfishness in their tracks.
What is self-care?
Self-care is the conscious practice of preserving, protecting, and caring for your mental, physical, and emotional health and wellbeing.
Self-care looks a little bit different for everyone and at different times. At some moments, self-care can be cutting a toxic person out of your life or saying no to something you don’t want to do, while at others it can be taking a long bubble bath, exercising, or splurging on a special treat for yourself that makes you smile. The practice of self-care has different manifestations for everyone, but at the end of the day, it’s all about doing something you want to do because you enjoy it — not because you have to.
Self-care vs. selfish
Self-care is simply any activity we do to take care of ourselves. It helps us refuel and is done with the intention of improving our mental, physical, or emotional health. Being selfish is defined as, “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.”
While both focus on concentrating on the self, the question of self-care vs. selfishness comes down to the intent. When practicing self-care, the goal is to do things you enjoy to recharge your mind, body, and spirit. When you’re being selfish, the goal is to only further your own wishes and desires without concern for how it may negatively impact those around you.
Why self-care isn’t selfish
You know the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Cliche or not, it’s true!
In order to serve others, you must first take care of yourself. Otherwise, you will face burnout and exhaustion. Self-care isn’t about hurting others to get what you want — it’s about protecting and nurturing yourself so that you can give the best of yourself to others.
When you prioritize self-care and give yourself the tools you need to replenish your spirit, you become a healthier and happier version of yourself. This positively impacts everyone around you and can help improve your relationships and overall health.
Self-care is not selfish because through its practice, we’re able to give more to others. Being selfish is the opposite since it’s about furthering your own interests with a disregard for how it affects others. If you don’t practice self-care, you can set yourself up for anxiety, chronic stress, depression, and other serious health concerns.
If you are constantly depleted, stressed, or grouchy, you are not the best version of yourself. Self-care helps you refuel and set boundaries so that you can maintain and give your best self at all times.
Our best self-care tips
Self-care isn’t one size fits all. Taking care of yourself and finding joy in doing so is such an important aspect of a fulfilling and healthy life. Here are some self-care tips to get you started — use these as a guide, but it’s up to you as an individual to identify what brings you the most energy and peace:
- Start a gratitude journal and write down 3-5 things you’re thankful for every day.
- Exercise and eat a healthy diet, but do what you enjoy! If you hate running, find a different form of cardiovascular activity that’s more fun for you. If you hate mustard greens, don’t force yourself to eat them.
- Practice yoga or meditation.
- Take a dance break and go wild with music that makes you happy.
- Cuddle with your pet — this can actually lower your blood pressure and cut down on stress hormone levels!
- Get a massage to relax and relieve tension.
- Watch a comedy and let yourself laugh out loud.
- Go outside and soak up some glorious vitamin D.
- Give yourself daily affirmations to build self-worth and practice kindness to ourselves.
- Plan a social media detox day and unplug from your phone.
- Treat yourself the same way you’d treat a friend: adopt a positive mindset, love yourself, and be your own cheerleader.
- Celebrate the wins! Take pride in your accomplishments and acknowledge them.
Self-care is not selfish, and it’s not a luxury. It’s a priority to focus on every day. We created our Love Yourself collection to serve as a constant reminder that you are worthy and deserving of love, and there is magic in you!
Do you have any great self-care tips to share? How do you practice self-care in your everyday life? Share your insights in the comments!
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