When Did Self-Care Become A Bad Thing?

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“I have no time.” Certainly no time for self-care. I used to say this all the time. It was a mantra that ran through my head numerous times a day. Between working full time, taking care of my kids and running a household, I was running on empty most of the time. I didn’t see an end to the chaos that was my life.

Enjoyment or self-care was not in my life.

Meeting my deadlines, making to do lists, running to appointments, making lunches, buying groceries, going to doctors, checking homework, and juggling a million other things, that was my life. I was spinning like a top trying to keep everything running smoothly. It was a fine balancing act and all it would take would be a little nudge for everything to fall apart. The stress of the balancing act was overwhelming, but I figured that this was my life.

I remember taking the kids to the pediatrician once and feeling like my life was going to fall apart. I was exhausted and felt hopeless that I would ever feel healthy or in control again. He took one look at me and told me to take a break and get out of the house without the kids. Stopping myself from crying, I nodded my head faking agreement.

Of course I wanted to take a break, but how could I? How would I be able to stop this fine balancing act? How would I be able to take a break? Who would do everything? Who would help me? I’m the mom. I’m supposed to take care of everyone. Needless to say, with these thoughts going through my head, I couldn’t see how to take a break.

I didn’t even think I deserved one!

I couldn’t find any solutions, only more problems. It wasn’t until years later that I finally understood why I couldn’t grasp the concept of taking a break.

As women, we are conditioned to take care of others. It’s in our nature. It’s how many of us were brought up. It’s expected in our society. It’s hardwired into us. We neglect ourselves because we are made to feel guilty or selfish if we need “me-time.” It may not be said aloud, but we put this pressure on ourselves. It’s our thought patterns in motion. When we take care of others at the expense of ourselves, we burn out. It’s as simple as that.

Being older and wiser I realize the importance of taking care of myself. I’ve lived a little over half a century and have learned quite a bit. I’ve learned to take care of myself. My health and needs are important. It is not OK to neglect myself. I refuse to feel guilty or selfish when I say no to something. I need my quiet time. I need time to pursue my dreams. I wish it didn’t take my over half a century to figure this out, but better late than never.

My wish for you is that you take time for yourself. That it is OK to take a break. It’s OK to relax and not cram 16 million things into one day. It’s OK if the beds aren’t made or you buy a pizza every now and then. It’s OK to hire a babysitter or trade babysitting with friends so you can have some quiet time. You are not being selfish; you are preserving your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Remember, you’re no good to anyone, if you burn out.

Take time out for self-care. Take care of yourself and you’ll be able to take care of others 100% better.

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