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Is self-care selfish?

I’m going to start with a resounding NO!

And now I’ll explain why it isn’t and what you might like to consider doing for yourself.

Self-care is the buzz-word de jour right now. You hear it in popular television, Buzzfeed ‘articles’, conversations, and of course, while sat on the therapists couch.

Something I hear a lot when asking what people what they do for self-care is; ‘Oh no, it’s selfish to think of myself’. They then go on to tell me how they do everything for everyone else, but they are exhausted, physically and emotionally.

Looking after ourselves is paramount so we can continue to help others. It’s a cliché I know, but think about the last time you travelled on an airplane. During the safety demonstration they pulled out that little yellow mask, pretended it fell from the overhead, tugged it towards them and then put in over their face. The words that accompany that image is ‘Always put on your oxygen mask before helping others’. The reason you do this is because you’re no use to anyone else if you’re passed out on the floor and blocking the corridor.

Putting your oxygen mask on first, isn’t selfish. It’s self-preservation. It also allows you to help others if they aren’t able to put their mask on.

So what can you do for self-care if you’re out of practice?

Catch up on sleep

If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends or are experiencing stress your sleep is being affected. Making up that sleep debt can help you feel well rested and re-energised.

Get outside

It’s been well documented that nature has benefits to our health. These include exercises our eyes because we rapidly change where we focus, Vitamin D as the sun hits our skin (calcium helps with the absorption of Vitamin D, so have a ice cream as well: -), the fresh air helps clear the lungs and can help reduce the risks of asthma, chest infection and heart disease, you can get some gentle (or vigorous) exercise, you can get in touch with the earth and ground yourself, this can be done by removing your shoe and ‘making fists with your toes’ in the grass, dirt or sand.

Take time to create

Writing, drawing, painting, gardening, knitting, needlecrafts…so many ways to create. It exercises a different part of the brain because we need to focus on what we’re doing rather than stressing on the day to day. Setting aside a time to create can help significantly reduce daily stress and at the end of it you have a beautiful finished product that you can keep or gift.

Eat a healthy meal

Often our eat habits suffer when we aren’t feeling mentally well. We slip into ordering food, or having quick access food. Treating yourself to a healthy, well balanced meal is a great way to start a new habit and look after yourself. Whether you choose to cook it yourself or dine at a favourite eatery. We all have to start somewhere.

Catch up with a friend

In modern Western society we are leaning more to social isolation, but humans are by nature pack animals. We need other human contact, not all the time, but we do need it. It’s one of the reason a hug can feel so good with all that lovely oxytocin being released. So why not catch up with a friend as a form of self-care. You could tick off a few with this one if you choose a al fresco dining for your catch-up. You can chat and laugh to your hearts content with a friend in tow. You might even like to include an art class of something for an added boost.

I hope this inspires you to take a little time for yourself this and every week.

If you have self-care that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you, please comment below.

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