When I talk to people about self-care, there are usually a few common barriers as to why they struggle fit it into their lives. One of those barriers is feeling guilty for spending time on themselves. So many of us have been raised to be kind, modest and helpful – the idea of spending time and attention on ourselves feels alien and unnecessary.
This can be especially true if you’re surrounded by others who need your care and attention. And I get it, I really do. It’s all well and good to say “self-care isn’t selfish” and I think most of us intellectually grasp this concept, but putting it into practice is another story.
Instead of telling myself “It isn’t selfish”, I like to think of the ways self-care actually benefits those around me.
Because, even though it’s called ‘self-care’ it really does have a ripple effect. So I thought today I would share some ways self-care supports other people in the hope you’ll see who else it can benefit.
This is probably where I notice the biggest difference. If I let self-care slip, I get stressed far more quickly and become irritable. And this is no fun for Dan. If I’ve given myself space to relax, I feel on top of things and able to cope with added stresses that may get piled on without becoming a moody so-and-so.
When I’ve taken care of myself, I’m better able to support Dan when he needs it. I can be there for him in a more present and mindful way, because my needs have already been catered to. In short, self-care makes us all kinder and more supportive partners.
Families can be a source of stress for many, and I know when I see my family I can often revert back to my teenage ways. I might shut off or get easily wound up.
Having strong boundaries and a cushion of self-care however makes family time much more enjoyable.
I’ve given myself the mental and physical space I need to let them in and have a nice visit. I also honour the boundaries I’ve made so I can genuinely enjoy the time I get to spend with them. Self-care isn’t just about relaxation, it’s about honouring your needs.
As an introvert, part of my self-care involves quiet, alone time. Doing this helps to recharge me and make me feel more sociable and energetic when I see my friends. If I didn’t do this, I would be tired and not fully present.
Sometimes part of self-care is saying no too. So if you’re feeling anxious or just plain exhausted – it’s OK to cancel plans. It’s so much better to take care of yourself than to show up anyway in that kind of state. You’ll only make yourself feel worse and if your friends are truly your friends, they’ll understand if you cancel.
Staying calm at work can feel incredibly tough sometimes. Maybe you’ve had a stressful meeting or a difficult conversation. Whatever the situation, if you’re not releasing some stress and strain outside of work, you might end up snappy and difficult to work with.
Your colleagues can feel your mood – so whether or not you mean to, you could be bringing them down with you. This is why I always keep Wednesday evenings free for self-care, it’s my midweek pick-me-up to keep me feeling calm and collected at work. Sure, sometimes I still get stressed, but knowing I have time scheduled to relax helps me through.
You’ve probably already figured out the general theme here – self-care makes you calmer and happier. This effect ripples throughout society, from the people you love to the Barista at your local cafe. Think about all those times your mood’s been brightened by a stranger giving you a smile or being especially kind… self-care helps you be that stranger to someone else.
When you look after yourself, you’re communicating to the world that you deserve to be valued and this is a powerful, inspiring statement. It shows people it’s OK to look out for yourself, it’s OK for you to take care of you.
If you struggle with self-care, for whatever reason, take a look at my self-care strategy sessions and see if one of these could help you.
During the session we’ll figure out what your barriers to self-care are, what you would like your self-care routine to look like and finally make a routine that fits in with *your* schedule.
We’re all unique and have different circumstances. Sometimes articles and generic self-care advice just doesn’t cut it, sometimes we need a conversation, a little guidance and some accountability. If this sounds like something you’re ready for, fill in this application or send me an email for more information.
Have you noticed how self-care impacts those around you? Let me know in the comments!
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