Self-Care Isn't Selfish

By guest blogger and You Matter Meet-Up host, Leslie Lew

Self-care is a process and one that requires you to make a conscious choice to do it. Plain and simply, it is knowing when your internal batteries are running low and stepping back to replenish them rather than letting them drain away. It is integrating self-compassion into your life.

Take 10 minutes to do the following exercise so that when you feel overwhelmed or like you are losing your way, you have a list of activities to use for to anchor yourself:

  1. Create a “No” List: fill it with things you know you don’t like or you no longer want to do.
    Examples might include: Not checking emails at night, not attending social events that cause you anxiety, no longer having your phone out when sharing a meal with a loved one, or maybe it’s the names of actual people who are toxic.
  2. Create a “More please” List: fill it with things you want more of in your life.
  • Sensory – Light your favorite scented candle, hug your pet, walk barefoot at the beach, take in a whiff of an essential oil, up your skincare game
  • Emotional – Keep a daily journal to be honest with your feelings, seek out a therapist or coach, make time to be with a friend who truly understands you
  • Spiritual – Start a daily meditation practice, go on a day trip to take photos of items that inspire you, attend service, take a walk in nature to feel connected
  • Physical – Join a new class, take a nap, focus on stretching and breathing
  • Social – Write an email or letter to someone you miss who lives far away, stop socializing with those that undermine or disempower you, consider joining a group of people that share similar interests
  1. Assign dates to when you’d like to start incorporating these activities

Be aware of what you do, why you do it, how it feels, and what the outcomes are.

SELF-CARE is not SELFISH. It doesn’t mean you are abandoning your duties as an adult, parent, spouse, etc. It does mean that you are aware that you need time with yourself… and then actually making the time.

Have you ever spent time with someone and felt like the life has been sucked out of you? This is one of those things in your life that you can actually control, so make the effort to take charge and surround yourself with people who aren’t going to put you down or patronize you. Instead, keep those who build you up, inspire you, and support you as close as possible.

Self-care is the path towards sanity, clear thoughts, and long-term happiness. If you are not intentional about doing what it takes to reset, you’ll be battling burnout and wondering why you never feel better. Maybe you won’t master this right away but every step forward is one step closer to living a life that is meaningful to you.