Self Care is not Selfish.
We all know that we need to take care of our bodies and minds. In fact, most of us already know how to do that! We know how to eat healthy, exercise, and what habits we want to end and start. It is not knowledge but motivation and time that usually keeps people from becoming as healthy as they want to be. One of the biggest issues for many people is time. Most people will tell you they don’t have time to do the things they want or need to do. Time is a real issue, as so many of us are overworked and overextended in our personal and professional lives.
Many people also view “self care” as a luxury, something you do on a special occasion, or when you feel you have to because of an illness or other problem. But self care is really a necessity. You would not continue to drive your car without putting gas into it or getting your oil changed. Our bodies and minds are much the same, they need care and attention to keep them running well.
One metaphor that is often used for self care is the safety instructions for boarding an airplane. If you have ever flown, you have heard the flight attendant (or the video) tell you that if there is a problem with the air, a mask will drop down from overhead. They then specifically instruct you to put your own mask on before helping others. This is because our first instinct is to help someone else, especially a child or person who isn’t able to put the mask on themselves. However, if you have no oxygen and you pass out, there is no one left to help anyone! Self care is much like this – if we put everyone else first at the expense of our own bodies and minds, we are heading towards breakdown and burnout. If we truly want to be the best we can be for our families, friends, and community, we must make the time to replenish our bodies, minds and spirits.
Stress is linked to so many diseases, including cancer, autoimmune disease, heart disease and many others. Discussing how make lasting healthy changes, Segar (2015) says that often our goal to be “healthy” is often what she refers to as a “wrong why”. Becoming healthy is not the real goal or why we do things, but rather the vehicle to get us where we want to be in life. What we really want is to have more energy, feel better, and have more positive moods and emotions; these are the things that allow us to do what makes life satisfying and more meaningful.
Even just a few minutes a day of mindful self care can have an impact on stress and energy levels. The Salt Oasis Kingsport has some wonderful opportunities for relaxation and self care. Sitting in the salt room, sauna, or under some infrared lamps can not only be great for your body, but also for you mind as you take time away from the busyness of the day to recharge!
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. Do not make any changes to your healthcare or treatment without consulting your physician.
Segar, M. (2015). The Right Why: The Surprising Start to Cultivating Sustainable Behavior Change. Generations: The Journal of the American Society on Aging, 39(1), 15–19.