Over the weekend, an issue got brought up in one of the business Facebook groups I’m in. The topic was self-care and whether or not others felt guilty for practicing self-care. I was really curious to see the answers so I was quick to click on it to check them out. After reading some of the responses, I noticed that many women commenting on this post either felt guilty about taking the time to focus on themselves or they just didn’t make the time for it. One even stated that it just wasn’t important to them. What?! That completely amazed me. How can so many women think that self-care isn’t important? And this is a group full of bloggers and small business owners. Some of these women are mothers and wives and even balance full-time careers as well. This mentality just wasn’t something I could accept.
As a small business owner and someone who struggles with mental health, self-care is absolutely crucial for me. And it’s crucial for you as well! If you’re not taking care of yourself, then how can you be a great business owner? How can you be a good wife or mom or friend? How can you balance the hundreds of things that you balance in your life when you’re constantly on the go and not taking the time to focus on yourself? The answer is, you can’t. You cannot be the best version of yourself when you’re putting everyone else in your life first.
Now I know what some of you are thinking so I’m going to address a couple of the top excuses I saw on this topic…
“I don’t have time to focus on myself”.
I get it. Life happens. There are days or weeks or sometimes months where I’m just on the go 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As we were moving cross country, I had a two month time period where we were just nonstop busy. We were constantly doing something whether it was traveling or booking hotel rooms or house hunting or packing or whatever it may be. I really lacked the time to stay focused on myself in that time…and it showed!
You can ask anyone in my life during that time, and they’ll all be able to tell you how much of a mess I was during that transition. Not focusing on myself led to:
- The inability to sleep through the night.
- Extreme exhaustion.
- An insane amount of stress.
- Mood swings.
- Bad eating habits.
- Lack of motivation to go to the gym.
- Depression and anxiety.
And so much more. And this happens every single time I’m not focusing on myself. Then to make it more of a challenging time for me this time around, you have to add in the early pregnancy signs and symptoms I was experiencing at the time as well. It was a whole lot of bad and it took me way too long to get myself back on track once we were settled in our new home. Regardless of how busy you are in your every day life, you absolutely have to do something for yourself on a weekly basis.
In fact, you should really be doing something for yourself on a daily basis. I don’t care what you have going on in your life (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). Saying you don’t have time to focus on YOU just isn’t acceptable. It’s an excuse.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a huge grand gesture or expensive by any means. It can be something as simple as taking a bubble bath at the end of your day to wind down before bed. Have kids? Well if you’re a single parent, then wait for them to go to bed. If you have a spouse or a significant other, then let them take over parenting duties for 30 minutes to an hour. I promise they can handle it. You do not have to do everything yourself!
It’s okay to ask for help so that you have a few extra minutes in your day to do something nice for yourself. Even just having a glass of wine with dinner can do wonders. Or take a few minutes to talk or vent with a friend. If you have more time on your hands, then take an afternoon and get your nails done with your girlfriends. Hit the gym for an hour or take a yoga class. Self-care is going to vary from person to person, but I promise you it’s doable for everyone no matter who you are or how many hats you wear. There is something you can do to keep yourself happy and healthy. It’s crucial that you find a moment to do focus on this. So find those little habits that you can add to your day and do them!
“Self-care isn’t important. I balance everything just fine”
WRONG. So so wrong.
It doesn’t matter how well you handle life or how perfect of a schedule you have in place. Even on your good days, you still need to be focusing on yourself. In fact, these are the days where it’s even more important because it can prevent you from falling apart in the future. Having good habits in place and knowing when to take breaks is what’s going to allow you to move forward in your day or your week without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. It’s when you stop your self-care routines that life begins to really take a toll on you. It’ll all build up and at some point, you’ll be left feeling exhausted and strained which is not a good feeling at all. Not to mention it’s also very bad for your health as well. Stress can lead to so many health issues.
If you feel like you’re one of those people who can balance everything without issues, it’s because you’re doing something for your mental health whether you realize it or not. Something in your daily routine is for you and you only whether it’s something as small as savoring your morning cup of coffee or spending time with your spouse at the end of a long day. You already have these self-care habits built into your everyday routine which is great! But be sure to recognize these habits so that you know when you’re needing a little more self-care in your day.
“My kids come first”
It’s so great that you focus so much of your time and attention on your children. That’s what makes a great parent. I’m sure I’ll be the same way once our daughter is born. They instantly become your top priority and nothing else seems to matter. Between the diaper changes, play dates, meal times, pick ups and drop offs, nap times, temper tantrums and everything else that goes along with being a parent, it can be really hard to find that extra time in the day.
But as a parent, it’s even more important to take the time out of your day to practice self-care. I’m in no way saying you’re a bad parent for putting your children first, but sometimes you need to put yourself first. It may seem selfish to hire a babysitter so you can have a lunch date with a friend rather than spending time with your kids. But it benefits no one when that time spent with your kids is also spent stressed out and exhausted. Let’s be honest here. Being a parent is one of the most challenging, stressful jobs there is. So why feel guilty for needing a vacation or even just an hour to yourself? There’s nothing wrong with that!
Putting yourself first here and there allows you to recharge your batteries and regain control over your mental health. This will then allow you to be a much better parent than you’d be if you were spending your days exhausted and overwhelmed. Not only that, but you’ll be much more present in their lives as well. Yes, you’re physically there with them, but you want to be mentally present too.
“I feel guilty when I focus on myself”
Why?! I’ve never connected self-care with feeling guilty or selfish. Why should I feel guilty for making sure I’m taken care of? Oh right, I shouldn’t! And you shouldn’t either! With all the things we have going on in our lives, our own health tends to come second to everything else. Our jobs, our marriages, our kids. Those things just seem so much more important sometimes, don’t they? My husband is my top priority at all times. But sometimes, I just need to focus on myself and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s essential to do things that make you happy if you want to be the best possible version of yourself. You shouldn’t feel guilty for needing to take that time to yourself. Everyone needs to do this at some point or another. At the end of the day, the absolute most important person in your life should be yourself. If you’re happy and healthy, then you’re better able to be an awesome parent, or run a great business, or be an amazing wife. You’ll feel more in charge of your life and everything in it. When you practice self-care, you’re better able to succeed at anything life throws at you!
Do you feel guilty when you’re focusing on self-care?