Lifestyle

The Importance of Self-Care & Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About It

June 10, 2019

Why #SelfCareSunday Should Be #SelfCareEveryday

Why is it so hard to put ourselves first and value our lives before valuing others?

The problem with valuing self-care and loving ourselves is that it’s hard to not see it as selfish or self-centered. But what many people (including myself) struggle to see is that it’s incredibly difficult to take care of others and love others if we aren’t valuing our own lives.

So it’s important to take care of ourselves and be the best version of ourselves for our loved ones. Take it from someone who is a people-pleaser. It’s amazing to take care of others and for many of us it’s our passion and what we love.

Life always manages to get ahead of us and sometimes we forget about ourselves, but it’s not fair to the people we love if we aren’t being the best for them and that is why self-care is so important.  

Why Your Self-Care is Different From Everyone Else’s

Acknowledging that self-care is important and valuing our own lives is just the first step. Actually practicing taking care of ourselves is so much easier said than done, and sometimes it’s finding those self-care practices that are custom to ourselves that’s the hardest part.

Yes, to many a spa day or a nice book is a great way to recharge, but to some people that may not be the case.

“Your self-care doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It doesn’t need to have a hashtag. It just needs to be whatever makes you feel good.”

– Kristi Pahr

This is where you need to recognize what’s most important to you and what makes you truly happy.

Sometimes we mix up what makes us happy with what makes others happy into our own priorities. However, when you start prioritizing what’s most important to others, you can get lost and finding your way back can be a maze.

Jot down the things that make you truly happy, and try not to give it too much thought. Make a list of your goals & your dreams for the future – whether this is short-term or long-term. Make a list of the things that ease your mind and keep you relaxed. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s (and in fact, it shouldn’t).

The Balance Between Taking Care of Yourself & Taking Care of Others

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m a people-pleaser, and I can’t help it. I love to make people happy. However, I started noticing my own happiness being at a loss for when I couldn’t give people everything that they wanted. Afterall, we are human, and this isn’t realistic.

It’s important to recognize that taking care of others doesn’t have to mean pleasing them 24/7. Sometimes, just being there for them and staying true to yourself is just enough.  

I really started noticing a problem when I started becoming so obsessed with making sure that everything was perfect in-the-moment. I would naturally run out of time.  I couldn’t keep up, and before I knew it, I was so overwhelmed with everything catching up to me that it would affect everything else in my life.. My lack of self-care was turning me into someone you didn’t want to be around.

I quickly took a step back and realized this is not how I want to live my life.  I also realized that in order to be there for the people I love and truly take care of them, I need to make my own well-being the first priority.

It’s okay to take care of yourself.  You shouldn’t feel guilty about being the strongest and best you can be.  In my opinion, only then can you be there for the people you love.

Self-Care Tips

Again, we are all different, and everyone’s self-care is different. Here are a few tips that I personally enjoy, but I encourage anyone who is looking to practice self-care to find ways to take care of yourself that are custom to your life and your values 🙂

1. Sleep

Don’t you hate it when people tell you to get more sleep?

It’s so much easier said than done and I know for new mothers or other people with crazy schedules, sometimes it’s not a priority and it’s hard to make it one.

However, it really is that important. We aren’t ourselves when we don’t get enough sleep and forcing our bodies to run on E is just not healthy. Try to prioritize this if you can even if it’s just an extra hour every night, if not try to take naps or take a break – you deserve it!

2. Diet & Exercise

Almost everyone struggles with finding the motivation to eat healthy and go to the gym.

But focusing on our diet or getting more exercise doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. I love going for short walks when I get a break at work and I try to have a healthy breakfast every morning (Usually so I can have pasta for dinner hehe).

I think it’s also important not to stress too much about your diet, it’s okay to have a cookie every now and then – don’t beat yourself up about it 🙂

3. Pamper Yourself

Again, everyone’s self care is different and same goes for how you pamper yourself.

For example, I actually hate baths. I also hate that I hate baths. I think they sound amazing, but for some reason I just get antsy and I find it hard to relax. On the other hand, I love reading a book or listening to audible books. It’s all about what makes you relax.

Other ways I like to pamper myself:

  • Face masks
  • Listening to music
  • Painting my nails
  • Travel somewhere new and peaceful
  • Cleaning & doing laundry (I know kind of weird, but it’s actually very relaxing for me 🙂 )

4. Get Support

  • Support Yourself

Support doesn’t have to come from others. In fact, I think the support you give yourself can be the most important kind of support. You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to achieve certain goals or have dreams.

A great way to give yourself the support you deserve is by keeping track of your worries and thoughts. Jot down in a journal what you’re thinking every now and then. Whenever I feel anxious, I love to make a list of everything that is making me feel this way and why. Usually, it just makes me realize there’s nothing to be worried about, but even then it’s nice to know exactly what is bothering you.

  • Support From Others

Keep a close circle of people who are supportive and people who build you up and separate yourself from people who are judgmental and tear you down.

  • Give Support

One of my favorite bloggers & someone who inspired me to start this creative outlet, Olivia Rink, recently posted about anxiety.

Olivia wrote something that really stuck with me & I actually jotted it down on a post-it note as a daily reminder:

“The more I try to make my life all about me, the more anxious I become.”

– Olivia Rink

I know this may sound contradicting, but it’s not always about us and sometimes self-care isn’t always about us either. By giving our own support to others, we can feel more at ease and less anxious.

5. Mindfulness

“Mindfulness is a state of being when your body and mind are in the same place at the same time. That means bringing attention to what you are doing and where you are, without worrying about the future or the past.”

– Catherine Beard

The truth is it’s hard for me to talk about mindfulness, because it’s not something I’m good at.

I acknowledge the importance of it and I’m working on being better at shutting off and being more present. The truth is I’m tied to my computer and my phone the majority of the day and I notice the adverse effects it has on my mood and my relationships, and I don’t like it.

This is what I’ve started doing to be more mindful: Block off times of the day without any “screen time” – I’ve been focusing on doing this right before bed, so that I can shut off my mind before going to sleep.

I like to read a book or just focus on “being.” I also like to play white noise in the background, like fake rain or ocean waves, which helps me relax and clear my mind 🙂

Conclusion

It’s okay to focus on ourselves sometimes. We shouldn’t feel guilty about it and we shouldn’t feel like we’re being selfish.

Although, just like there’s a balance to everything, there’s a balance to focusing on ourselves & focusing on others. Don’t get too caught up with your wants and needs, but also don’t get too caught up in others’ wants and needs.

Spend time with people who lift you up and try to lift those people up in return. By giving, we are giving to ourselves and by taking care of ourselves, we are also taking care of others.

Xo,

Jenna <3

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