Self-care doesn't have to be selfish. Focus on you without the guilt.
Taking time for yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give not just yourself – but your family and friends as well. If anything, you should feel guilty when you don’t take time to prioritise yourself, because it affects how well you can then care for others 👌
But how do you do this without feeling guilty that you 'should' be doing something else?
There are two things you need to look at.
1. Understanding guilt
Guilt is an interesting emotion as we often attribute feeling guilty to being a good person with feelings. If we don't feel guilty about our actions it means we don't care enough or have a conscience. Of course, emotions are there for a reason and it's good to feel guilty in some situations to remind you that you do have a conscience. However, repeatedly feeling guilty causes negative self-talk which as I've talked about previously, can have an extremely negative effect on our mind and body.
The other crazy thing about guilt is that when you worry about letting someone down or not doing something for someone - you are the only one that suffers! The other person doesn't know you feel guilty so you're not helping them anyway! You'd be better off using the huge amount of energy you use feeling guilty to help them. It's up to you to manage expectations, in a way that feels comfortable to you. Being honest with someone about how much time you can spend with them or what you can commit to is a much healthier way to build relationships.
Start by being aware of your guilt when it pops up. Why are you feeling guilty and if it's about a person, do they really expect you to be spending more time with them rather than taking an hour for yourself? Know that repeated guilt feelings are not helping anyone and your energy would be much better focussed on something productive - like boosting your mental health and wellbeing so you have more energy for others!
2. How important is your wellbeing to you? You need to make sure you have cemented it high enough in your priorities to always make time for it.
Take a pen and paper, or your favourite notebook, and write the answers to the following questions...
Why is looking after your health and wellbeing important to you?
When everything is how you want it to be in regards to looking after your health and wellbeing, what will be happening?
What difference will focussing on your wellbeing make to your life?
What benefits will it bring you in other parts of your life?
How will it benefit the people you love?
If you don’t prioritise your health and wellbeing, how will this make you feel?
How committed are you now to prioritising your own self care?
Lastly I would look at what else is ‘stopping you’ from taking the ‘personal time’.
If you've got to this point in the article, then you've already taken some time for your self care, so... when can you next make time for it?
Make some time in your diary soon - you're still be a good person for doing it!