Self Care is Selfish
Recently, my wife and I gifted each other a private soak at a nearby hot springs. Just the two of us, relaxing in a pool of naturally heated water, enjoying each other’s company – no phone, no laptop, no distractions, just us and a magnificent view of the Rocky Mountains.
If the past few years has taught me anything it is to take care of myself, and those I love. Because as we have seen, life can change in an instant. Sure bills must be paid, emails need to be answered, and articles have deadlines.
But how much time do we take for ourselves?
When we do something nurturing for ourselves, we often say, “We should do that more often.” Isn’t that a sign telling us we should take an “adult time out” for our own well-being? Why do we place our self-care last on our to-do list?
I recently had a conversation with a friend about how true self-care is a selfish act of self-love. They struggled with the word selfish, but what other word fits? Is it selfish to take time to meditate, or go for an early morning walk before a busy day? For me the answer is of course it is a selfish act of self-love, but who else is going to take care of our well being? No other person knows what we need to maintain our place of inner peace as we do, and only we can provide the heart centered space for this place of peace.
The world is ever changing, it has been since the very beginning of time. The difference between the past and what we have faced recently is that we were involved. We are a part of this story and share this group experience that continues to this day.
One difference between the past and today, is we have the tools necessary to shift our awareness away from the challenges we have faced, and redirect our energy toward the life we want to create. These changes begin with looking within ourselves to find what truly matters to us.
In other words, we have the ability to live a life founded in our own well-being.
What would it be like to create a life that has our self-care as its main focus? This does not mean we abandon our responsibilities. This means our health – mental, emotional, and spiritual – are all considered when we make life choices. With each decision we ask which choice is best for our health. Nothing is worth anything if we do not have our health. When we are healthy we can accomplish great things.
During the summer lockdown of 2020, I began every day with a self-care routine involving meditation, yoga, and a bit of journal writing. Sure I woke up early, but this routine helped me handle the challenges of life better. Now that life has returned to a sense of normalcy, I have continued this practice. The benefits of my self-care have made it easier to go about my day with a healthier attitude.
Self-care does not have to be complicated – a walk, picking flowers, or just watching the sun rise or set. All it takes is a bit of time to connect with our true selves. This shift in our awareness will also impact those around us.
When we are taking care of ourselves, we are more in touch with our needs, and more likely to attend to these needs.
None of us knows what will happen in the future. Although when we begin the journey of being completely responsible for our emotional health, our self-care becomes a necessity not an option. I am much more centered and balanced when I take care of myself, this can differ from one day to the next.
A few weeks ago, instead of meditating at six in the morning, I rode my motorcycle to the top of a high mountain pass. The air was fresh, the sky was a beautiful blue, and I had the road to myself. In a way it was a meditation, but it was also part of my self-care routine.
When we begin to think of our health as more than our physical body, we may become a bit more selfish with our need for an “adult time out.” A time for us to reconnect with our true selves and open our heart so we can selfishly feel our own self-love.