I sat down to watch a movie before starting dinner this weekend. Before too long my thoughts begin to tell me, “You could be cleaning the house”, “You still have so much to do for work”, and “You don’t have time to just sit here… get up!” Instead of watching the movie I spent the whole time worrying about what I could have gotten done in those two hours. Does this sound familiar? Why do so many of us feel guilty about giving ourselves a break and taking care of ourselves?
It is no secret that American life is becoming more and more stressful. Employers demand higher productivity, millennials’ education debt is skyrocketing, and workdays are getting longer in order to manage cost of living increases. It makes sense that many of us feel bad for actually taking time for ourselves, rather than working towards our goals and improving our loved ones’ quality of life. However, self-care has never been more important, can help us keep up with America’s fast pace lifestyle, and help us show up fully in our lives. How can we overcome our guilt of our own self-care?
1. Little Steps
How many times in the past week have you skipped your lunch break to run errands or forget to eat because you were busy all day? Schedule your day to have breaks and get your basic needs met. Try not to skip your breaks or stay late at work every night of the week. Though it sounds so simple, remember to eat enough and get enough sleep!
2. Make it a Priority
Self-care is so easy to push back on your to-do list. Schedule time in your planner for ‘you time’. Whether you want to go hiking, do some yoga, or just have an afternoon of freedom, make sure you schedule time in for yourself every week to recharge.
3. Remember What Self-Care Can Do
Self-care allows your brain, body, and energy to recharge and renew. This means you will be able to be a better partner, parent, employee, and friend. Self-care is not just for you. When you show others you can take care of yourself, you model healthy habits.
4. Clear Your Mind Beforehand
If you feel your anxiety creeping up before you do an act of self-care, take a minute to clear your mind beforehand. Write a to do list before you do self-care to come back to it later or journal about your guilt to get it out beforehand. Getting out these thoughts can help you enjoy your time.
5. If it Doesn’t Feel Good, Don’t do it
Sometimes we like to trick ourselves into thinking we are doing self-care when really we are just checking off something on our to-do list (I am so guilty of this one). Whether you are working out or doing some reading, if you are doing it during your self-care time listen to your body and do what’s best for you! For years I weight lifted, and tricked myself into thinking it was self-care. I would feel guilty if I didn’t do it, and would go to the gym, even when my body told me not to. If your body needs to move, then move. If your body needs to sleep, then sleep. If your body needs to binge watch Netflix, do that. Do what your body tells you it needs.
6. Start Your Journey to Self-Love
Being able to see that you deserve self-care makes it easier to do. Though the journey to self-love can be a life-long process, accepting that you deserve your own time without the expectations of productivity can change your life for the better.
These first few steps can help achieve more consistent and better self-care. Practicing these things can help you incorporate self-care into everyday life!
Want to explore your journey to self-love? Call Kaila at Kava Counseling to set up a complimentary consultation or your first session.