Do you feel guilty when you do something just for yourself? Many of us feel like we can’t do something nice and indulgent without feeling the pang of guilt. We feel that taking care of ourselves somehow takes things and time away from our loved ones. While that’s technically true, there are some big benefits in taking care of yourself first and you really shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
When you fly on an airplane and look through the safety card, or watch the safety video before takeoff, you’re instructed to take care of yourself first in a case of emergency, before helping others, including your children. That point is made for a good reason. If we don’t put ourselves first and take care of our own need, we’re having a hard time helping others.
Does this give us a free pass to become completely selfish? Of course not! But it does mean that we can sneak a few minutes here and there to make ourselves a priority. It means we shouldn’t run ourselves so rugged that we become sleep deprived, stressed out people who frankly aren’t all that fun to be around.
You know this deep down. When you take the time to put yourself first and do something selfish for a little while, you come back refreshed and in a much better frame of mind to tackle whatever life throws at you. Locking yourself in the bedroom and reading a book for an hour doesn’t make you a bad person. Taking a mini time-out by playing a silly game on your phone doesn’t make you a bad mom. Going out to dinner with your girlfriends doesn’t make you a bad wife. Instead, it makes you better at what you do. You’re ready to figure out how to budget for the new washing machine you need to buy after you’ve taken a little break. You’re better and more focused at your job after taking the weekend completely off work. You’re a better spouse after you’ve had a chance to vent your frustration over the toothpaste, the toilet lid, and the dirty laundry on the floor. You’re a better and more patient mom who will gladly read the same book for the 50th time after you unwound playing candy crush for a few minutes.
Stop feeling guilty about taking the time to care for yourself, relax and unwind. It makes you a much better person and I’m sure your loved ones want you to be calm, relaxed, and happy. Stop the guilt and go do something fun just for yourself.