Sandra Chaloux

| 04/24/2017

Is Self-Care Selfish?

Is Self-Care Selfish?

Years ago, I wondered this myself and sometimes still wonder how much is too much.

But Yesterday, I picked up the Washington Post Outlook section about Spring Cleaning. I’m thinking at first glance, great! I need some tips for getting rid of clutter. But instead, the Washington Post asked 10 writers to nominate something we’re better off without.

One of these writers, Amanda Erickson, chose self-care as something we are better off without.

Hhhmm! Really? Can you imagine being in a society where people blew off self-care?

Oh crap, we’re living in that society right now, aren’t we? (Sorry for the sarcasm)

This is what punting on self-care looks like:

  • Chronic Illness
  • Sleep Issues
  • Digestion problems
  • Exhaustion & Fatigue
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mad & Angry
  • Moody & cranky
  • Closed
  • Poor relationships
  • Low Performance
  • Lack of Mobility/Wheelchair Bound
  • Being dependent on others for your care

I could go on, but I think you get the point. How helpful can we be to others in this condition?

I know I am not alone in witnessing parents who are declining. My own mother, who raised 6 children, took care of everyone except herself, didn’t exercise, ate processed food, became a type 2 diabetic, has dementia, is wheelchair bound, and requires care for almost everything now. This is what a lack of self-care looks like to me.

Amanda is certainly entitled to her opinion, but her article suggesting that we do without self-care pisses me off. I see so many women struggling with this. We feel guilty when we want/need to take care of ourselves. We have all been fed a crock of shit for too long. That crock of #### is the myth that self-care is selfish.

Self-care is not about “buying yourself a fancy-ass robe and sitting around drinking tea out of a goblet like some decadent royal”. Self-care is not just for people who can afford “fancy-ass robes”. Self-care is for everyone, regardless of economic status or age!

Self-care can be a simple walk in a park or in nature. Taking a few minutes in silence to calm your mind and connecting with God through daily prayer or meditation, and grounding yourself. Self-care is about eating whole food because you’ll feel better, have more energy, and will perform better. Self-care is about exercise to stay strong, stretching for flexibility, and sleeping at least 7 hours a night so your mind is sharp & your body works properly. Self-care is about enjoying some downtime to pursue a passion or hobby, connecting with friends & family, or to rest and restore. Self-care is also about getting help when you need it.

Self-care has nothing to do with politics. Self-care is something you deserve always –not just when you’re feeling blue. (When you get to the point that you are depressed, stressed, or cranky, those are the signs that you have gone too long without self-care.)

Another notion that Amanda cites in her article that I want to address is something she said feminist author Laurie Penny wrote in the Baffler (whatever that is) last year, the “obsessive ritualization of self-care comes at the expense of collective engagement, collapsing every social problem into a personal quest for the good life.” Again, not true….

People need consistent self-care so they can contribute to society on the highest level.

People who engage in regular self-care for body, mind & spirit are:

  • Happy
  • Energetic
  • Excited & Enthusiastic
  • Focused
  • Solution-Oriented
  • Present
  • Ready for Anything
  • Open
  • Connected
  • Loving
  • Generous
  • Kind
  • Compassionate
  • High Performing

Let’s see, who do you think will contribute more to society -someone who engages in regular self-care or someone who doesn’t? Who would you rather be around?

On a spiritual level, we can’t forget that God brought each of us here for a reason. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we are demonstrating a lack of gratitude for the gift of life (and body) we have been given. So, self-care is not shallow and is certainly not selfish.

God wants us to be happy and to love others as we love ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves enough for self-care, how much love are we able to give to others –and for how long?

So instead of getting rid of self-care, let’s get rid of the stupid myth that self-care is selfish!

If you still need permission to go take care of yourself, permission granted from above. Go and do something that makes you healthy and happy today, so you can be your best and serve others.

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