Why Is Self Care Considered Selfish?
Self-care is taking time to nourish and recharge your body, mind and spirit through activities like getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising, pursuing hobbies, and setting boundaries. However, society often unfairly labels self-care as selfish for several reasons:
First, there is a misconception that focusing on your own needs means you don't care about others' needs. In fact, taking time for self-care allows you to be more present and engaged with others instead of depleted. It's not a sign of indifference but of self-awareness.
Second, self-care practices like massages, leisure time, vacations, etc. are sometimes viewed as extravagant indulgences rather than necessities. But rest, enjoyment, and luxury are also valid human needs, not just work and duty. Allowing yourself pleasurable activities is not a moral failing.
Third, for women especially mothers, expectations to be tireless, selfless caretakers persist. Making their own mental and physical wellbeing a priority over others' needs is seen as shirking their nurturing duties. But mothers deserve care too.
Fourth, taking time out for self-care could mean not getting work done or meeting expectations from family, employers etc. This induces guilt and shame. However, we must challenge notions that self-care should come last always.
Fifth, many people lack parental, community or societal examples of healthy self-care habits to model themselves after. Self-care is not portrayed or taught as a normal part of life. But it should be.
Finally, adding regular self-care means shifting priorities and habits, which some resist. However, change is not inherently bad if it leads to better mental and physical health.
Reframing self-care as essential nourishment rather than selfish indulgence is key to combating misperceptions. Caring for yourself ultimately allows you to better care for others.
How Do Psychologists Practice Self Care?
Caring for yourself both psysically and mentally entails ongoing effort and careful planning.
Psychologists engage in self-care to avoid burnout and compassion fatigue in their emotionally demanding work. Here are some ways psychologists can practice self-care with candles and daily hobbies:
Lighting scented candles like lavender or chamomile creates a relaxing ambiance for winding down after emotional client sessions. The warm glow and calming aromas provide comfort and tranquility. Setting aside 10 minutes after work to simply breathe and center oneself with a candle is powerful.
Keeping work hours contained is key. Completely unplugging outside of work allows people to replenish. Setting boundaries is essential. Activities like walking in nature, listening to music, taking baths, meditating or journaling enable people to decompress. People need to practice self-awareness by building a more healthy relationship with themselves.
Socializing with loved ones reinforces feelings of support. Whether sharing a meal, seeing a movie, attending a yoga class or playing board games, connecting with family and friends balances demanding counseling work.
Engaging in movement and exercise is scientifically proven to boost mood and reduce stress. People should make time for physical activities they enjoy, like dance, biking, or swimming. Endorphins alleviate anxiety and depression.
Pursuing hobbies and creative passions provides an emotional outlet and sense of joy. Cooking, photography, gardening, playing an instrument - any activity that immerses people in the creative flow restores the spirit.
First, it is absolutely necessary for people to setting clear boundaries and limiting working hours. Namely, to have a seperate work and life balance. Therefore, it is recommened to have a different contact list for your co-workers and another one for family and friends. Be disciplined about unplugging completely outside of work time to renew your spirit. Avoid checking emails or taking calls during your personal time.
Second, I would recommend engaging in activities that help you emotionally decompress after intense or emotional client sessions. Light an aromatherapy candle, take a warm bath, meditate, or go for a walk in nature to calm your mind.
Third, make time each day for an activity you find creatively fulfilling, such as writing, painting, making music, or gardening. Immerse yourself in the creative process purely for enjoyment to counteract burnout.
Fourth, nurture your physical health through exercise, proper sleep, and healthy eating. Maintaining good physical habits boosts mental resilience. Find activities you look forward to like yoga, biking, or strength training.
Fifth, stay connected with your support system by spending quality time with loved ones. Share meals, attend events, travel together when possible. Social connection is restorative. You can share your personal journey with your close connected circle.
Sixth, engage in mindfulness practices like deep breathing, meditation, or journaling daily to build self-awareness and manage stress. Make this a pillar of your wellbeing.
Lastly, remember self-care is a necessity, not a luxury. Prioritize caring for yourself with the same focus you give clients. A candlelit bubble bath can be just as important as a counseling session.
What are some misconceptions around self care?
The belief that self-care or self love are “selfish”.
Debunking Common Self Care Misconceptions
Self-care isn't just indulging in your favorite activities whenever you want. It changes day-to-day based on your needs, even if that means doing unappealing tasks that reduce stress.
You don't have to spend money on self-care products and services. Many effective practices like deep breathing, gratitude, and self-acceptance are free. If money is tight, self-care gets harder but is still possible.
Self-care doesn't have to be time-consuming. Small daily practices like short breaks, nourishing foods, and limiting technology integrate seamlessly into obligations. Or schedule in longer activities if you need that time out.
Self-care is preventative, not just a reward for hard work. Do it to avoid problems rather than only when overwhelmed. You deserve self-care always, not just when you “earn it.”
Avoid all-or-nothing thinking about self-care duration. Even brief practices have value. If perfectionism arises, recognize and challenge that unhelpful mindset.
Self-care is essential, not optional. When busy, self-care gives energy to complete tasks. Make it a regular preventive activity, not the first thing to drop.
Practicing self-care helps but doesn't guarantee good mental health. Still seek appropriate help for any physical or mental health concerns.