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I Used to Think Self-Care Was Selfish

Self-care is not only not selfish, it’s the only way to give back to the ones you love.


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I won’t go into the reasons why I used to think self-care was selfish in this article, but you can check out my recent post on Medium for a little insight there. Even if I won’t really get into it, if you’re a mom, you get it.

I remember watching my mother run around taking care of everyone but herself and I started modeling that behavior. It took a while until I understood a few key principles about this type of behavior.


You can’t pour from an empty cup.

This was what I struggled with the most when I considered self-care. While admirable, the more you give, the less you have.

I’m not making any statements about my parents or my childhood but I can say I’ve seen many women act this way. They give and give to their families because they love them so much, only to be left with little for themselves when it’s all over.

Now, I’ve also seen the opposite. Parents that take and take and give nothing, and that’s not the answer either. This isn’t really only mothers or women either, there are plenty of men and fathers that I see do the same. I generalize because that’s been my personal experience.


More than anything self-care is about balance.

It’s about giving enough and taking what’s necessary. You can overdeliver as long as you still fill your cup. A lot of my family is in the service industry in one way or another. Now, not restaurant service. True human relationship service.

My grandfather was a deacon, my father a police officer, my brother a firefighter. I hope to serve you by my reading and writing. But like a well, it needs a source of water to keep giving water. All of my writing will come to a halt if I don’t continue to learn new things to share with you.


It starts with prioritizing.

You can’t overcommit yourself. That took me a long time to understand too. I love to make people happy, but it can’t be at the expense of my happiness.

Creating a schedule for myself and my life made that easier. When I scheduled in time I knew I needed for working out, meditating, eating right, and relaxing, it made a world of a difference.

Life can be hectic. Especially life with two kids under two. Even combining working out and listening to guided meditation is just that 10 minutes in the morning that makes a world of a difference for me.


It gives me more patience.

Giving me more patience means I have more to give my family. For those moments when the crayons aren’t on the table like they should be I can calmly put them back or ask my son to put them there instead of going off the rails over something so silly.

  • It gives me more grace.
    • More grace in how I compose myself. How I handle difficult life situations, non-crayon type of situations.
  • Peace of mind.
    • I’m someone whose mind is never silent. But it can be peaceful now at least.
  • Insight.
    • A lot of frustration arises from a lack of understanding. Understanding can only happen if you allow yourself to peacefully ponder life’s questions.

Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated.

Like I said, 10 minutes in the morning to do a quick workout and listen to a guided meditation works just fine for me. If you have more time or need more time, that’s up to you. I think even with kids and craziness, while you can’t find 10 minutes every single day, some days are better than no days.

It’s grabbing an apple in the morning instead of a pop tart. Now something that is your guilty pleasure is allowed, but as a daily habit, pop tarts do not provide a ton of nutrition.

When your body lacks proper nutrition, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Then your brain isn’t getting the right combination of chemicals, and neither is your body, and you might feel sluggish and depleted.


Educating yourself is a great place to start.

A lot of these things took time to learn and understand. Don’t try to implement everything at once, or that’s at least not what I would suggest.

Start with what you know you can do. If you can put your favorite song on once a day, that’s a great place to start. Find out where incorporating something you love makes sense for you and your life.

As I said, pop tarts aren’t great nutritionally, but once a day if that’s what you absolutely love, might be ok. Of course, if you have diabetes or other complications then maybe not. But we eat ice cream almost every night and it’s ok because it’s the one unhealthy thing we really allow ourselves.


Self-care should still be healthy.

I think you should still try to prioritize healthy self-care things. A cigarette a day isn’t exactly self-care since it’s not good for you and they’re highly addictive. One a year? Well, we’re all going to die anyway so if you have the will power to keep to once a year and that’s your thing then by all means. I won’t promote that though.

I went from never taking care of myself to making headway little by little. Slowly adding good things and eliminating bad things. Understanding what I did and didn’t need took time.

One truly selfish thing I do is care for my skin. Something I never did before. I don’t get my nails done, I rarely get a haircut, I pluck my own eyebrows and so on. The last time I went clothes shopping was because I was pregnant and the last time we went out to eat was because we had a gift card. But I use good skincare.

It was the one allowance I divulge myself with. Because I want to age gracefully. Maybe it sounds silly but I wanted to nourish my skin to help eliminate redness and acne and prevent some wrinkles. It won’t stop it all but if it’s the only thing I do I think it’s alright.


I think fighting aging is a source of sadness.

But making it so that it’s at least grateful seems fine to me. I don’t really plan on dyeing my hair, I mostly just hope I get to keep most of it for a long time. I’m fairly fit and I plan on keeping it that way.

All of that is work though. Skincare shouldn’t be work. It can be fun. And so much more rewarding when you reach certain ages we’ll say.

It doesn’t have to be skincare though, that’s just what I chose. It can be really whatever you want, just like I said, try to make it healthy.

The way I see it is we only have one life to live. And while living it to the fullest meant something entirely different in my early twenties, now I want a long fulfilling life. Not just a fun and free life. It’s all about balance.


Tell me below, how have you implemented self-care in your life? How do you plan to?

Need guidance? Reach out to me today!

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