It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon. I’m browsing the internet, exploring makeup ideas and recipes for homemade soap. For the first time all week, I’m really relaxed. I’m excited about new ideas, but somehow I’m feeling guilty. It sounds a bit strange, but for someone like me who is a bit of a workaholic, taking time to just relax and do things for myself seems selfish. Why should I be lounging around and thinking about makeup ideas when I could be working on projects? It seems silly.
The thing is, it’s not really about the excitement and possibility of new makeup or the smell of fancy soap. It’s just the act of thinking about something for myself and taking care of myself that makes me feel nice. Something as simple as taking a moment to relax reinvigorates me just a bit, but I feel guilty for it. The indulgence of self-care makes me feel selfish and I know I’m not the only one who feels like that.
In a way, I feel like the guilt of self-care stems from a stigma surrounding self-care itself. People who pamper themselves by getting their nails done, buying new clothes, or taking a sick day to veg out are called selfish and spoiled, but those who work themselves ragged and never stop moving are venerated as being hard workers. What about behind the scenes? We see “spoiled” people taking care of themselves, but what we don’t see is their tireless resolve to their jobs and families. We see the workaholics who seem like successes on the outside, but go home later and are ruined on the inside because they stress themselves out so much.
For me, alone time is a necessity. Time to breathe, time to take care of myself and no one else is what keeps me going. I suppose that people might think that I’m anti-social or selfish, but what they don’t see is how dedicated I am to my work, my education, and my relationships. But at the end of the day, I have to allow myself to have free time for the sake of my well-being.
I don’t think there should be shame in self-care. Why should nurturing your mind, body, and spirit be shameful? Taking care of yourself means you can function even better when taking care of others, so why feel ashamed of taking a break?
If you’re having a bad day, be sure to make self-care a priority. You might paint your nails, do your hair, or take a bubble bath. You could watch a movie, do some yoga, cook some comfort food, sing your favorite happy song at max volume, go outside, read a book, or journal your heart out. You aren’t a loner or self-absorbed for taking care of your own needs. When you’re done, get back to work and conquer all your projects. Just don’t forget to slow down every once in a while and let yourself relax.