Guest post written by Kelsie from Simply Bentley
Overcoming guilt is one of the biggest obstacles when we decide to pursue a life with self-care.
In our society, we tend to focus so much on hustle, achievement, and accomplishments that we often forget what needs to fill our lives in order to carry out these demands.
Deciding to actively pursue self-care is often seen as indulgent and unnecessary pampering. In actuality, it is a critical part of living a life where we can achieve and accomplish the vision that we have set for ourselves.
Because of the negative, or at least snarky, stigma surrounding self-care, we often feel guilty or embarrassed when we realize that we might have a need to incorporate self-care into our lives. For this reason, we need to make an active effort toward overcoming guilt that comes along with practicing self-care.
Self-Care Isn’t What You Think It Is
The first step to overcoming guilt on your self-care journey is to understand what self-care even is.
And especially, what it is not.
Is self-care leisurely afternoons reading your favorite book and sipping a fancy latte? Sometimes.
Is it an indulgent pedicure in the cold of winter? Occasionally.
Perhaps it could be bubble baths with only the highest quality personal care products? Probably less often than Pinterest makes you think.
Self-care needs a dramatic PR makeover. Media outlets and retailers have convinced us that self-care is really just a new way of saying self-indulgence. (And trying to get us to spend money for the sake of “self-care.”)
What self-care really does include, however, is:
- Setting healthy boundaries around your time and attention
- Saying “no” to requests or obligations that don’t align with your goals
- Making time for spiritual practices that fulfill you
- Keeping both your physical and mental space free of clutter
- And so, SO much more!
When we realize the difference between what self-care actually is versus what we are often led to believe about self-care, overcoming guilt related to self-care seems like a much more manageable task.
You Can’t be Your Best When Your Needs Aren’t Being Met
Have you ever tried to navigate a challenging situation when sleep-deprived? What about when you were hungry?
Chances are that you made some decisions that looked a bit…different…than you may have chosen to unless you had been properly rested and fueled.
The same happens when our mental, spiritual, emotional, social, or intellectual needs aren’t being met.
For example, when your mind is constantly stressed by having too many tasks to manage, you end up forgetting things, having a short temper, or unable to give the kind of time and attention to tasks you’d normally like to give.
When working long hours cause you to become isolated, your social needs aren’t met, leaving you feeling lonely, left out, or depressed.
These other aspects of self-care are just as important to your well-being as getting enough sleep or plenty to eat.
When you are trying to overcome guilt that results from having declined yet another work obligation or saying no to going to a birthday party for someone you barely know, you need to ask yourself a question:
Would you rather perform a mediocre (at best) job of showing up, or would you would rather do something that aligns with your goals and values 100%?
You Deserve It
If one of your best friends was bending over backward and inconveniencing themselves on your behalf, how would you feel?
Hopefully, not very good.
I’m not saying that it is not okay for others to occasionally treat us, nor am I saying that we shouldn’t allow others to do nice things for us.
If we are good people (and I am sure that we are) we wouldn’t want our friends to stress themselves out on our behalf. We wouldn’t want our friends to overextend themselves for us, and we definitely wouldn’t want our friends to be consistently inconveniencing themselves on our behalf.
If that’s the case, why can’t we also be our own friends?
Why can’t we say no to the things that put us out, or overextend us, or inconvenience us when it’s not strictly necessary?
On the other hand, how do we think that our friends would feel if they knew that we were doing these things on their behalf?
Your worth is not tied up in how much that we do for others. It is not tied up in your ability to take on more than you can handle and not give your best effort. Your worth is definitely not tied up in the fact that you can do the most things with the least amount of energy.
Overcoming Guilt is a Practice
Once you learn what self-care truly entails, you have the opportunity to create routines to incorporate it into your habits and rituals.
By understanding that self-care is more than bubble baths and manicures (although those are nice too!) you can see that self-care is also:
- Setting appropriate boundaries around your time and energy
- Making space in your schedules for leisure
- Setting goals that both challenge and invigorate you
- De-cluttering your home or thoughts
You can overcome self-care related guilt by recognizing how it helps you to “fill your cup” and not feel embarrassed when you choose to:
- Ask for help when you need it
- Make it a habit to nourish friendships
- Invest yourself in spiritual practice
- Create a comfortable and welcoming environment in your home
Finally, overcoming guilt requires that you see yourself as worthy of these things. This requires:
- Allowing yourself the same privileges that you give your closest friends
- Realizing that your real friends would not think that you are doing anyone a favor by inconveniencing yourself on their behalf
- Showing up for yourself so that you can show up for others
Overcoming guilt will take time.
It requires uncomfortable conversations with people you love and respect.
But doing the tough work of making self-care a priority will allow you to reap the long-term benefits of peace of mind, increased energy for the projects and commitments that you are passionate about, and deeper, more fulfilling relationships.
Take a look at your life and routines today and see how you can overcome guilt and make self-care a priority in your life.
Kelsie Bentley is a self-care and personal development blogger at www.simplybentley.com. She got her unlikely start after nearly a decade of meeting struggling, burnt-out women from behind the chair as a hairstylist. Kelsie’s keen sense of observation combined with an insatiable desire to help others led her to the online world to teach women that caring for themselves is the key to living the fulfilled life that they dream of.