I don’t know the answer to this question so please don’t berate me over what I’m about to discuss.
Is self care selfish?
Of course we know, we all need to take care of ourselves that little bit better & stop saying yes to things that make us miserable. But at the same time what if by saying no you might be making someone else miserable? The reason I think about this is because I go through phases of self care that I believe are imperative to my mental health, but I also understand I need to be a good person and sometimes that means doing things I don’t want to do in order to make other people happy. For example cancelling on my friends when I’m unwell could be deemed self care and rightly so, but as could cancelling on them when I just can’t be bothered because I’m tired and I need a rest.
Sorry babes, not feeling like showering today, self care day.
Sorry boss, won’t make it in this morning feeling a bit meh, so taking a self care day.
Both of the above statements could be paramount to my recovery when I’m feeling depressed but hearing those as a manager or a friend could provoke an annoyed reaction.
So when is self care necessary and when is it selfish? Does it depend on the occasion you might be bailing on, or the level of money you spend on making yourself feel better – or is it never selfish and always necessary?
As an example I had a hen night recently and some of my friends couldn’t come. Some of them I know had genuine reasons but some of them I felt probably just couldn’t be bothered, however this was based on my assumption and not fact. For all I know they could of been struggling mentally and unable to face it, but I jumped to a conclusion because I felt it was a time that was particularly important to me and for all intents and purposes I wanted them there to celebrate with me.
I really do believe that self care is necessary but I also believe supporting friends in need is necessary. You can see my dilemma, right? Being a person who struggles with her mental health and lives with a chronic illness I absolutely understand the need to pace yourself and say no to situations and events that may damage how you are feeling. I’m just completely unsure of when those occasions may cross over into a territory that may be considered self indulgent.
Or – should we all take more time for ourselves and care less what other people think. Should we instead just explain our need for self care better, that way relinquishing any bad feeling by being upfront about what it is we need.
I’m glad we live in a world where mental health is being encouraged to be talked about and I will never not get behind a mental health campaign promoting the breaking of archaic stigmas, but I wonder if everyone who talks about it feels torn between not wanting to sound like a total mood kill, and genuinely feeling the need to get their story out there.
After a festive filled weekend, this week I am most definitely taking some extra time to look after myself, take today for example I’m in bed whilst my daughter is at preschool. But for reasons unbeknownst to the world, I still feel that teeny bit selfish for not doing the washing or changing the beds.
Longing for a time when these dilemmas are unquestionably normal. Let’s all try and look after both ourselves, and each other better!