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Four myths about Self-care

1. it's selfish

It may be helpful to consider a definition of selfishness: "the failure to balance powerful self-interest (eg autonomy, material gain, emotional gratification, social superiority) with the interests of others (eg lack of concern for others' welfare or norms of social responsibility) (Ford 2001, 'Selfishness in Child Development, Cengage Learning).

Now, decide whether your desire to care for yourself denotes powerful self-interest, shows a lack of concern for others welfare or the norms of social responsibility...

Self-care is about making sure you spend time on taking care of yourself ... in amongst the raft of tasks you do that take care of others' needs and wants, your responsibilities to family, work and society and all the other things you have convinced yourself you need to do in order to a valuable human being. Does self-care make you valuable? No I don't believe it does ... not to the outside world.  But it shows your Self that you think you are worth taking care of. You need to take care of yourself if you have any hope of doing a good job of taking care of others long term. 

Are you still convinced self-care is self-ish?


2. it takes too much time

So you don't think you have time to take care of yourself?

What is it that you are doing with your time that leaves you nothing left for yourself?

Is your time being put to most effective use?

Are you happy with the idea that your life - your existence on this planet - is about ignoring yourself and fitting in all the other things you have on your list?

Until you have an inkling that YOUR life is about YOU, then self-care is going to remain something that you do not have time for.

How is it that all the other things you do are a higher priority for you than your self-care and balance? And how is that approach working for you?


3. it costs too much

Like adding it into your daily routine, the cost of self-care does not have to be any more than you normally spend on a coffee or a chocolate bar. Seeing self-care as something that is part of your weekly budget is a big part of it becoming something you regularly include in your life as a priority.

Think for a moment of the things you spend your money on ... does your list include alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, sweets, taxis. Does your list also include food and water, rent/mortgage, education? The first list are wants - although I am the first to admit that a life without coffee and chocolate is not one I am keen to imagine!. Items on the second list are considered necessities. Self-care needs to move up in priority from being on your 'wish' list and onto to your necessities list.

When you make it a priority, you will find the funds to add self-care into your world. It doesn't have to be a weekend at the spa, a regular yoga class, a new hair style each month – start with small steps eg. Make yourself a cup of tea and drink it before you begin taking care of everyone else's needs. If you have to get up 10 minutes earlier to have that time to yourself then perhaps that is the place to begin (can you tell I am a morning person?).


4. it doesn't work anyway

Interesting belief this one. It won't work so well if you spend all your time believing that the steps you take to care for your Self are worthless, a waste of time etc.

What does work is undertaking a task and doing it mindfully – aware that you are doing it for yourself, focussing on doing it, every single little moment of it.

The second part of the process – and perhaps that one that has stopped you taking care of yourself in the first place - is that you need to do it regularly. Self-care that happens only a few times a year for a few hours is doing some good, but it's not enough to fill the account to last through the next four months when you do none AT ALL! That frequency of self-care is not going to bolster your resources to get you through months at a time.

It needs to be regular. YOU are worth it!