For many of us, “selfish” may as well be a four-letter word. It’s a criticism that cuts deep (and hurts!). But maybe it shouldn’t. Okay, we need to clarify that: being called selfish will always hurt, but perhaps being selfish is actually a good thing. No, we’re not saying to always put yourself first at the expense of others. But, we are saying that women, in particular, tend to put themselves last and that needs to change. This isn’t about ignoring others, it’s just about putting yourself back on your own to do list.
If you feel guilty about taking care of yourself, Lynn Zavaro, author of the book and card deck set The Game of You, has 6 tips to help you take better care of you:
Schedule time. Self-care should be a #1 priority so, schedule it in your calendar and follow through. Taking care of yourself is the foundation you need to be your best you!
Take care of yourself first. There’s a reason why, when on a plane, flight attendants say to place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others. If you don’t care for yourself, you won’t have the capacity to help someone else.
Don’t use others as an excuse. Often we take care of someone else’s needs rather than our own. We meet a friend at a bar rather than have a night home alone. We talk though a friend’s problem on the phone, missing our time at the gym. Sometimes this is warranted. But, be aware if you are compromising your own needs for others merely as a way out of having to care for yourself.
Apply self-care on all levels. The mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels all deserve equal attention. At times, we give one level plenty of attention, yet we don’t realize the others are being overlooked. We may go to the gym but we may not do something calm and nurturing for ourselves like meditation or yoga. We may take long baths, but forget to eat well. Take care of all aspects for a well-rounded, balanced life.
Make change. Could your belief that it is selfish to take care of yourself be a resistance to create change? Check in to see if negative habits are no longer serving you. Shift out of an old pattern to move into an updated positive place for a better you.
Be determined. If you are in the midst of a transitional crisis or feel uprooted, you may need to implement a stronger self-care program. It takes determination to follow through, but the pay off is tremendous.
Love yourself enough to begin taking care of yourself fully today!