Self-care, me time, being selfish: all have very negative connotations; ironically, these negative connotations resonate with those who need it most. Most of us have never learned the sweet spot within the bounds of the selflessness/selfishness continuum and therefore fall somewhere outside of the healthy parameters.
Being out of Bounds
People of a giving and nurturing nature tend to be out of bounds when it comes to the selflessness/selfishness continuum. Why? because of their aversion to selfishness. Perhaps the concept of selfishness may inspire feelings of guilt, or feelings of rejection. It may be a concept that is just completely foreign due to cultural mores that have shaped an individual. Whatever the root of the aversion may be, it can pose a serious health risk (mental, physical, emotional – all of the above).
Continually giving and nurturing without replenishing can have devastating effects, like for example:
- Decreased Immune System
- Triggering of Underlying Health Conditions
These symptoms are all interdependent. When we run on fumes doing what we do, our stress level increases, which over produces hormones like Cortisol – which, in turn, lowers the threshold of our immune system and triggering underlying health issues like: blood pressure, gastric flare ups, migraines, and fatigue. Stress can keep us up at night and if we are awake, our body is not getting sufficient rest needed to strengthen the immune system. Feeling yucky gives us a yucky attitude which is the perfect breeding ground for strife with all who come in contact with us. It’s a vicious cycle and bumpy ride that can go on for years until we reach the point of no return with our health. It is crucial to make sure we are not on this runaway train.
Is selfishness a bad thing?
Definition of selfish
1 : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others 2 : arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others.
Notice how self-care is no where mentioned in this definition. Why? Because caring for yourself and being selfish are not the same thing! This is a major misconception that inspires all sorts of feelings that avert us from taking care of ourselves. I encourage you all to research for yourselves What Self-Care Is – and What it Isn’t.
Caring for self
I could provide a list from 1-10 on how to start caring for yourself, but instead, I will invoke the tried and true K.I.S.S. method. Keep It Simple Stupid. Start small by listening to your body and getting rest by avoiding collapsing into bed and making sleep a priority and before you do anything, have the same exact conversation that you would with someone you love. If you’re about to do something that you would advise your loved one not to do because they have been “burning the candle at both ends,” then don’t do it. Treat yourself as well as you treat your loved ones. If you need a starting point on how to construct a self-care routine, you can start here 14 Tips for Creating a Self-Care Routine to Nourish Your Body and Soul.