Most of us don’t want people to think we’re selfish. We donate to charities and go on mission trips and support our friends, even when we’re struggling ourselves. However, many people continue to push through our hard times because we’re conditioned to help others.
In America especially, most parents teach their kids to make sure they aren’t inconveniencing others. Make sure everyone else has their food before eating. Share with those who have less than you. Offer to carpool in order to save other people’s money and time. The worst thing you can do is make someone else feel bad or put yourself first.
However, if we do care for ourselves first, does that make us selfish? Not necessarily. If you’ve ever flown in a plane, you’ll know that parents are supposed to put the emergency oxygen mask on their face before their child’s. The parents have to be taken care of first in order to best help the child. That’s a great example of why self care is so important. Before you can go help other people and be selfless, you much look inside yourself and make sure you’re well enough to care for others.
Do something you’ve been craving
Often when we aren’t focusing on ourselves, we have a list of things that we hope to do in the future. You promise yourself you’ll take a trip someday or watch that new Netflix show or read that new book or visit the newest restaurant. You deny yourself this thing because you “don’t have time” or you have to do something for someone else. Stop denying yourself and just do it! You may be craving that thing because you need it, so don’t feel selfish for prioritizing it.
Whether you’re religious or not, you should be taking care of your spiritual life in some way. If you are religious, maybe spend some more time with your faith. However, you can also meditate or do yoga. Meditation sounds a little strange if you haven’t done it before, but it’s a great way to free your mind and relieve stress. Even if you do something as simple as moderate your breathing or closing your eyes for a few minutes at your desk (not napping, obviously), you can improve your focus and your mood.
Set a strict bedtime
A great way to practice self care is to go to bed on time. It’s easy to push back our bedtimes because someone emails you last minute or you want to do some work before bed, but that is not taking care of yourself. Your parents aren’t around to force you to go to sleep, so you need to do that yourself. Find a good bedtime that gives you enough time to sleep but also enough time to finish up some work before bed. Then, stick to it. Force yourself to be in bed at a certain time, and stop staying up to help other people or text your boyfriend. Your body needs the rest and they can wait.
Take a social media break
These days it’s hard to get off social media because most people’s jobs revolve around it. If you aren’t managing someone else’s social media, you have to monitor your own brand. Whatever the case, try taking a social media break. Delete your major apps like Instagram or Twitter from your phone and do something else. Whether this break lasts a day or a week or a whole vacation, it can really help your mental health.
Read a book for fun
A major complaint from students and adults is “I haven’t read a book since high school!” Some people brag because they don’t like reading, but many say that wishing they could read. Often our lives involve a lot of other reading – news, social media, blog posts – and we don’t have the time or energy to commit to reading anything fun. To take care of yourself, find a book that sounds fun or different from what you’d normally read, and eat it up. Read it all in one sitting, or read it every night before you go to bed. You may enjoy it so much that you read another one!
Treat yo’ self
More than anything, try to incorporate self care into your everyday life. Stop worrying about being selfish and treat yo’ self. Go buy that new dress or get dessert or take a nap. Don’t overdo it, of course, but a little treat here and there can do wonders for your body and mind. Start taking care of yourself, and you may find that you’re more equipped to help others.