It’s Thursday, and at this point in the week, we’re not even able to muster the strength to be excited for the weekend. All of the plans we had set aside for “Next Weekend” on Monday, despite our best intentions, are now looking very replaceable with a much-needed nap.
Yes, tomorrow we will wake up, somehow renewed by the thought of only eight or so hours standing between us and a whole forty-eight hours of freedom, but you’re going to need to plan some things very carefully in order to ensure you’ve got the strength you need on Monday.
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned so far in my adult life is to distinguish ways to care for yourself without taking too much time up in a selfish way. I’ve also determined a simple way to figure out which is self-care and which is disguised selfishness…and it all lies with your intentions.
Taking time to relax, indulge in a favorite hobby, take a nap, or treat yourself to something out of the ordinary can indeed be self-care.
But it can also be selfishness. It all stems from what your intentions are for the activity. There are days where I will literally shut myself in my room, blinds drawn, Netflix blaring for hours upon hours as I drift in and out of sleep. I’m not exactly participating in this activity for the right reasons: I’m using it as a way to escape reality, shut off my brain for far too long with no motivation to rejuvenate. I’m being just plain lazy!
I am also overindulging. Which is very dangerous grounds for slipping into the exact opposite of self-care, leading to intense self-loathing. Too much of something will always be a bad thing.
Watching Netflix is not a negative thing in and of itself. Neither is taking a nap for a little while with the blinds drawn. But let’s be honest, we’re being selfish in this situation. Our intentions are not to refresh and relax, but to zone out completely with no end in sight.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do any strenuous activity to avoid being selfish in your self-care routine.
We all clearly know the things that give us energy: for some, it’s spending quality time with friends or family. For others, it’s heading to the gym for a run or swim. For me personally, it’s cozying up with a book at a local coffee shop for a few hours.
The difference with this self-care activity for me is that I feel my spirit restored, my energy renewed. Yes, I could have spent that time doing the mountain of dishes in my sink, or folding yet another load of laundry.
But the best and yet hardest part of performing self-care is saying no to what you need to do and saying yes to what you want to do.
It’s not selfish to take time to excuse yourself from the daily grind for a moment to breathe. Often times it’s more selfish to not take care of yourself, because you will quickly burn yourself out and end up treating others just as poorly as you treat yourself.
If I take the time to go for a quick run, drop in on a cycle class, read for an hour, or do something for no one else but myself for just one hour a day, I am a much more pleasant person to interact with.
The next time you are tempted to use the excuse, “I don’t have time for that,” or “I can’t waste my time doing [insert life-breathing activity here],”- Stop. Don’t use that excuse of selfishness any longer. Give yourself a break, do what you want to do, for one hour, every day.
In no time at all, I promise you will be a healthier, happier, and better person for all 167 other hours of the week.