Why Self-Care isn’t Selfish

self careEverybody needs a day to themselves, especially the hard, working girl-boss. As a career woman, it can be hard to find time for yourself. However, it is very important to take breaks from our careers, academia, and even relationships to focus on the ‘self’.

Short term self-care often involves short term solutions which don’t always work in the longterm. Those Netflix dates or bubble baths are pseudo types of self-care, meaning they do not truly get down to fully fixing or rejuvenating the ‘self’.

Long term solutions however include daily self-care habits or speaking to a therapist weekly. Overall, self-care is important for both mental and physical health. Self-care for me has meant being home and spending time with my pets. Additionally, I indulge in self-care through being on top of my doctors appointments. Most importantly though, I actively work on saying ‘no’ more. Here are some long-term strategies that will help your self-care routine:

Learn to use your voice.

As women, there are many instances where we are not taken seriously or listened to, based on our gender. This especially can be apparent in regards to women’s symptoms and careers. For example, many women’s pain is not taken seriously and often, women have to fight for their symptoms to be taken into account by doctors. I suffer from endometriosis and over the years have learnt to raise my voice and to speak up for myself when it comes to my medical decisions

Always follow your intuition.

Saying ‘no’ is an important aspect of self-care because good people often try to fit as much as they can on their plate for their loved ones. Additionally, when someone is a hard-worker it can be difficult to say no because they may feel everything is doable. Finally, people-pleasers have the worst time of learning to say no. Sometimes the word no can bring about anxiety, and if you are like me, the emotion of guilt follows closely behind. Sometimes even turning down an invitation to a ‘fun-event’ like a friend’s get-together can often feel like you are letting the world around you down or yourself. Saying no to extra work you cannot cope with or an event, whatever the reason, is okay. An act of self-care can be saying no, with no guilty feelings attached.

An important part of working on the ‘self’ is navigating life/work balance. However, learning to say no helps with working on that ‘self’. Always remember that it is okay to turn down helping someone if you have too much to do. It is okay to cancel plans because you are too tired or drained socially. You should never feel obligated to do anything that affects your mental health from stressing over the situation.

Your top priority should be you.

Be honest with yourself, with what you can handle and with what you need. When you are honest about your self-care needs, it becomes easier to manage in the long run.

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