Self-care is about identifying your own needs & taking steps to meet them. It’s taking the time to do the activities that nurture you & make you happy. It’s about taking PROPER care of yourself & treating yourself as kindly as you would treat others. It’s about recognizing & acknowledging that taking some time to prioritize you is not selfish or narcissistic; rather, it’s an essential (& even altruistic) part of your life that you should learn to prize & value.
If you take just a second to reflect on your life, you’ll probably realize that you spend most of your life nurturing others or investing yourself in other aspects of your life, but yourself (for example: school, family, friends & work). When you find yourself focusing more on others (or other things) than yourself, you become worn out, stressed, run down & sometimes, even BURN OUT. When you get yourself into a habit of doing that, it becomes too easy (& almost natural) to neglect your OWN NEEDS. In a way, you kind of forget they are there because you’re so focused on nurturing everything else.
Well, let me enlighten you today for just a second… THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SELF-CARE & ENGAGING IN IT ON A DAILY BASIS. SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH. SELF-CARE IS NOT NARCISSISTIC. It’s part of balancing the stress & activity of daily life with activities that bring a sense of peace & well-being to the MIND & BODY. Neglecting & forgetting your own needs & to nurture them often leads to feelings of unhappiness, low self-esteem, resentment & sometimes, even internalization of anger, frustration & guilt, that later comes out in the form of anxiety or other types of mood disorders or mental illnesses.
I speak from firsthand experience when I tell you that for many years, I neglected myself & always found a reason & a way to put EVERYTHING & EVERYONE before myself. Throughout therapy & treatment for my eating disorder, I came to realize, with the help of my therapist, that a large part of the reason why I developed an eating disorder is because the ongoing self-neglect that I engaged in led to the internalization of so many negative emotions, that eventually, had to come to the surface.
These negative emotions transpired in the form of an eating disorder. It didn’t make sense to me at first, but through therapy, I learned that because I neglected myself for so many years, my mind & in turn, my body, learned to hate itself. My eating disorder further fuelled this self-neglect & self-hate, until it pushed me to a point where it was time for me to take matters into my own hands.
For me, a large part of recovery was reteaching my mind & body to CARE FOR ITSELF & I cannot even put into words how much better, calmer & healthier I feel, not to mention, how much my self-esteem has increased & how much I recognize & value self-love.
This is why I speak from experience when I say that I can’t stress enough how CRUCIAL & IMPORTANT SELF-CARE IS & how if you don’t already, you NEED to make it a part of your life.
Let me tell you why!
- It helps build a stronger, healthier, happier, more confident YOU, throws self-doubt & self-neglect out the window & teaches you YOUR WORTH.
- It helps foster & make you recognize the difference between existing and living. Existing is simply living for the sake of being alive. Living is living for experience & all the beauty that life & the world has to offer.
- It teaches you not to rely on outside sources, individuals, addictions, obsessions or stimulation to fill you & make you whole. Being in tune with yourself is the best way to take care of you. There is NOTHING more powerful than the relationship you have with yourself; it is this relationship that will allow you to give of yourself to others more wholly & completely.
- It helps you build trust in yourself & find your purpose.
- It gives you time to reflect on your life, what you love about it & would never change & what you’d like to improve.
- It’s empowering.
- It gives you inner peace & inner well-being, which in turn, allows you to radiate that peace & wellness & be your BEST SELF.
- It makes you realize that you have time for ANYTHING & EVERYTHING if you WANT IT & actually prioritize it.
- It teaches you to value mental & physical health & to not take it for granted.
- It helps you get to know yourself better.
- It’s a way for you to disconnect from the hustle & bustle of everyday life & to build a commitment to & with yourself.
- It teaches you to honour, nurture & love yourself not only for your personal benefit but also, for the benefit of everyone around you.
You must first love & take care of yourself before you can authentically love & take care of others.