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Self-Care is NOT Selfish

Why we all need to get over the ridiculous idea that taking care of ourselves is selfish

Women are expected to do it all.

Give birth? ✓

Cook? ✓

Clean? ✓

Raise decent human beings?  ✓

Grocery shop? ✓

Bring home a paycheck? ✓

You get the idea. It’s a lot. And it can be overwhelming. Overwhelming to the point that we lose ourselves in the shuffle.

We constantly feel pressure to complete our to-do lists, to feed our kids organically, to emotionally support our families, etc. etc., and this constant pressure is often detrimental to our overall well-being. The feminine role is often that of caretaker, and sadly, caretakers usually prioritize themselves last.

I think this is where that seed of deception is planted. We’re so used to putting others before ourselves that when we actually do something for ourselves… we feel selfish.

Add in external sources like those female celebrities who look so joyful managing work, motherhood and being a supportive wife *on social media*, our own moms, family members or certain friends, and the negative thoughts and feelings of comparison can be deafening.

I think this is why we all need to get over the ridiculous idea that taking care of yourself is selfish. First of all, it’s unsustainable. Second of all, it’s freaking exhausting. And can’t we all agree that we’re already tired enough?

Self-care is not selfish

Unless you’ve been under a rock or maybe a pile of never-ending laundry for the last few years- you’ve probably heard of the term “self-care”.

It can mean different things for different people. For some- it’s going to get a spa facial. For others it’s just a few hours of alone time to read that book that’s been on your end table for the last six months. If you’re an extrovert and ‘refill your tanks’ with the energy of those close to you, it can look like scheduling that much-needed coffee date with your best friend.

Me? I love to wake up an hour or so before my husband and two kids to drink my coffee and enjoy some peace. It’s that simple. Starting my day off with that hour to myself is one of the best things I can do for myself, and therefore the people I care about. I grew up with a big family, so I need alone time throughout the week. It’s honestly my biggest need!

I also feel my best when my body is healthy, and my skin is glowing. I usually walk at lunch during my break to get a little exercise and some deep breathing going. If I’m in need of some extra mental clarity, I love speed-walking and HIIT workouts for those extra endorphins. Beauty-wise, I am fortunate to have access to Botox and dermal fillers when I need a little pick me up, but I am careful not to overdo it. Everything in moderation. Also, perfection is super boring! The goal of beauty treatments should always be to help you feel like your most confident self. This is what they do for me, but if in-office treatments aren’t your thing, find yourself a luxurious (or calming) at-home skincare product. Korean sheet masks are my go-to.

Another thing I make sure to do to prioritize my own self-care? I ask for help… a lot.

Know that if you think you can do this thing called life without any help… something is suffering and it’s most likely you. Take advantage of the support of your friends and those close to you. If your friend offers to host your kids for a playdate- take it. If your mother-in-law offers to babysit (even if she gives the kids cookies for dinner)- take it! Have PTO at work? Ask for some time off, even if it’s a morning to yourself.

Stop comparing yourself

The other day, one of my Skin by Lovely team members asked me how I manage it all (parenting, work, etc.) so effortlessly. Ha! If only that were true.

The reality is that I have LOTS of help and many years of therapy which have helped me learn to prioritize my needs first so that I have the energy and desire to care for my family and team. Prioritizing yourself is not effortless. It actually requires quite a bit of effort. But it’s so worth it because when we are well-rested, feeling confident and secure in ourselves- we thrive.

Never assume that someone has everything together, and if they seemingly do- I guarantee you that they have (a lot of) help to make it seem that way. Social media has ruined our comparison meter. We’re no longer able to distinguish between reality and humble-bragging that we end up being green with envy over things that are (most-definitely) photoshopped or not real AT ALL.

Just because someone went on that killer vacation to Antigua doesn’t mean that she didn’t have to work overtime at her already grueling job to get herself there. That perfectly posed family portrait? What you don’t see are the tantrums that ensued immediately after the flash.

Everyone struggles. Don’t let comparison drain you. It’s not worth the risks.

The Risks

I know carving some time out of your day for yourself can seem daunting or even impossible, but the risks of not prioritizing your own self-care needs are real. Adrenal exhaustion, resentment, depression, anxiety, premature aging… the list goes on and on. We need to recognize our own needs so we don’t reach this point.

If you’re feeling run-down or drained. Listen.

Listen to your needs and be honest with yourself. If you need to talk to someone, find a therapist. If you need a strong support base, find a local women’s group. Take action, however small.

Self-care is Necessary

I think we should all be able to agree that self-care is not selfish… it’s necessary.

My advice? Let the guilt go. It is not serving you- it’s impairing you.

Tune out the negative voices and focus on yourself, because when you do that and you’re overflowing with self-worth and confidence- everyone wins. And that certainly doesn’t sound selfish to me.

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About the Author:

Lovely Laban GNP-C MSN is a practicing Aesthetic Injection Specialist, and is available for appointments at Skin by Lovely’s Portland location. She is also an educator and trainer for InjectionU.

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