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Self care: Is it selfish?


Self care looks different for everyone. One might get the impression that self care is a cosmetic activity, i.e., getting your nails done, putting on a face mask or taking a long bath. To me, self care can be a number of things.

Self care basically means taking care of yourself. It does not have to be an indulgence; it should be anything that will help you feel better or perform better.

Doing something that has been on your to-do list for weeks

Perpetually putting off something on your to-do takes up mental capacity because you have to keep reminding yourself to get it done. These tasks often have a deadline and leaving it too close to the deadline can create more anxiety than necessary. It may be best to block out some time each morning to attend to these tasks in order to create healthy and productive habits as perpetually postponing the task will probably make you less productive in the long run.

Setting boundaries

It can be pretty difficult to turn down social or family invitations, or to tell your boss that you will not be responding to emails after 8pm. It’s okay to not want to spend every weekend visiting family or to go to ladies’ night. You probably need to start setting boundaries when you get anxious about seeing someone or when it becomes apparent that someone is not accommodating to you when making plans. Setting personal boundaries teaches the people around you how to treat you but it will also require you to uphold these boundaries in order for this kind of self care to have the desired effect.

Taking the day off to complete tasks or errands

Sometimes we don’t end up doing things simply because the tasks are too time-consuming tasks and you can’t seem to find the time. Taking a day off to complete tasks will ensure that the tasks get done as well as giving you a sense of achievement or completion which may end up aiding your well-being. For example, many specialist doctors only practice during office hours. Taking a day off to attend to these appointments or do something like completing your tax return will allow you to complete these tasks guilt-free and fully focused.

Do nothing

If you are someone who is well-organized, efficiently going about their obligations and responsibilities, self care can come in the form of taking some time off to do nothing in particular. Spending time on your own, or with your family or loved ones, also count as self care and is no less justifiable than when you have urgent errands to attend to.

Selfish self care

Deploying the term self care as an excuse to repeatedly avoid responsibilities and duties is not a healthy way to practice selfcare. In fact, it creates a toxic situation of habitually avoiding obligations when there are people relying on you as a colleague, a partner or a friend. Self care should not be used as an excuse when you are unable to set up a boundary in the first place. Responsibilities and obligations are unavoidable, so ensure that you practice self care in a way that also respects other people’s time.

Remember that the self care routine of another person might not be the right fit for you, so don’t feel obligated to participate in someone else’s routine. Take time to discover and explore a self care routine that works for you.


Author: Winona Randell, BBM Law