In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s all too easy to neglect our own well-being in favor of tending to the needs of others. So many of us pride ourselves on our capacity for empathy and compassion, readily extending a helping hand to friends, family, and even strangers in need. Yet, when it comes to affording ourselves the same kindness and care, we often fall short, trapped in a cycle of self-criticism and neglect, mistaking what is self-care for selfishness.

Too often, we find ourselves at the bottom of a never-ending to-do list, prioritizing the needs of others over our own. We convince ourselves that self-care is indulgent or selfish, believing that we must sacrifice our own happiness for the sake of those around us. But in doing so, we risk burning out, depleting our reserves of energy and resilience until there is nothing left to give.

It’s time to challenge this notion and reclaim our right to self-compassion. Just as we would advise a loved one to prioritize their own well-being, we must learn to prioritize ourselves without guilt or hesitation. This means setting boundaries, saying no when necessary, and carving out time for self-care and reflection.

Remember, self-compassion is not a luxury—it’s a necessity. Just as we nourish our bodies with healthy food and exercise, we must nourish our souls with kindness and love. By affording ourselves the same gentleness and understanding that we extend to others, we not only strengthen our own resilience but also enhance our capacity to care for those around us.

Imagine for a moment the tenderness and patience we would offer to a child or someone dependent on us. We would go to great lengths to ensure their comfort and happiness, showering them with love and encouragement. And yet, when it comes to treating ourselves with the same gentleness and understanding, we falter, plagued by feelings of guilt or wondering if we are indeed being selfish.

Don’t believe me? Consider the popular concept of “me-time” – why is “me-time” reserved for rare occasions? I think it should be integrated into our routines as a non-negotiable component of self-preservation and self-love. By recognizing the importance of prioritizing ourselves, we can break free from feelings of guilt and embrace the concept of “me time” as something that should be present in our lives all the time. I think self-compassion is not only good but crucial to our overall well-being. Just as we cannot pour from an empty cup, we cannot truly care for others if we neglect our own needs. We must learn to extend the same grace and compassion to ourselves that we so readily give to others.

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Implementing self-care in action involves consciously prioritizing activities that nourish our minds, bodies, and spirits, without the pressure of external expectations or obligations. One way to practice self-care is by carving out time for activities that bring us joy and relaxation, such as reading a book purely for pleasure, without the distraction of a looming to-do list. Similarly, taking a leisurely walk-in nature (or in my case, connecting with Blue Mind and being near water), solely for the purpose of enjoying the sights and sounds and smells around us, can be a powerful form of self-care. The only purpose of such activity should be pleasure, which means no running errands while you do it, or texting people back (because you feel you’re wasting all this precious time) or replying to emails. Just be with yourself, even if for a moment.   It’s all about creating space in our lives for moments of stillness and reflection, allowing ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate without the weight of productivity or achievement. By honoring our own needs and desires in this way, we reinforce the importance of self-compassion and cultivate a deeper sense of well-being in our daily lives.

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