Mike Iamele asks why we feel guilty for taking care of ourselves, and if we need to rethink our priorities.
There are times when we don’t feel well. We’re under pressure. We put ourselves under pressure.
I put myself under pressure. So I need some downtime. I need some nourishment. I need some self-care.
But when I’ve mentioned my schedule of acupuncture, meditation classes, clarity coaching, and spontaneous walks throughout the day, I could hear the self-indulgence rolling out of my mouth.
As I heard my own words, I began to wonder if my schedule wasn’t just a tad bit narcissistic. Did I really need all that self-care? Was I just being spoiled?
And then I stopped myself dead in my tracks. I was should-ing all over myself, and I couldn’t have that. So what if others viewed it as over-the-top? So what if it seemed pretentious and out-of-touch? It’s my life—and, to be at the top of my game, I need the occasional self-care.
But my momentary insecurity got me thinking: In a world where sleep-deprivation is a badge of honor and chronic stress is just par for the course, has self-care become—well—selfish?
Let’s face it: We aren’t very good at taking care of ourselves. In fact, we’re pretty great at taking care of everyone except for ourselves. We’ll stay late at the office to make our boss look good. We’ll go the extra mile to make sure clients and customers are satisfied. We’ll do nice things for significant others, take extra care of our children, even treat the pets like kings and queens.
But us? We come last. We always come last. Because we can handle it.
There are a million things to do in a day, and the easiest one to drop is yourself. Most of the day is spent on others: working for someone else, or serving clients, or making dinner for family, or going to meet friends. The sit-at-home-with-a-book falls by the wayside. The massage never gets scheduled.
And we survive. We endure.
But we’re over enduring, remember? We want to thrive. We want to prime ourselves to be top-notch.
When you decide to take your life back and give yourself whatever you need—whether that’s a daily run or a simple 30-minute time alone with a book, you refuel yourself. You reinvigorate. You get yourself back to the top of your game.
There’s no way I could write as quickly as I do if it weren’t for self-care. There’s no way I could see as many clients as I do if I weren’t constantly refueling myself.
Whether I like it or not, I need self-care to bring my A-game.
So, is it selfish? Self-indulgent? Self-obsessed? Of course it is. It’s putting myself first.
Selfish has gotten a bad rap these days. We’re so obsessed with what others will think and with letting people down that we let the most important person down—ourselves.
Hey, perfectionists—nobody else gets to live your life. It’s great if you make everything nice and easy for others. But you’re the one whom you have to go home with.
We bring our cars in for regular tune-ups and oil changes. But we force ourselves to keep running on empty.
So let’s reframe the discussion on self-care. Let’s drop the shame about taking care of ourselves. Let’s start fueling ourselves with whatever we need.
Because you can fuel a Lamborghini with diesel, but it might not get very far.
And, baby, you were born to move.
Originally published at bostonwellnesscoach.com.