There are a thousand things on my to do list. Send the proposal. Write a blog. Get my social media wrangled. Call a friend. Clean the kitchen. And on and on. Down near the bottom of that list are meditate and exercise. Those are my self-care items but they seem so selfish. There are so many more important things to do. How can I possibly stop and make time for these?
And so I don’t. And so my joints hurt, my back aches, my tummy widens, and my energy wans. My mind is cluttered, my heart races, my thoughts swirl, and my productivity drops. But I’m busy! But I’m doing all the important work! Right?
Self-care is Selfish
It might be my gremlins, it might be society, or it might be my upbringing, but I view taking those 1-2 hours a day for self-care as selfish. Yes, selfish. How dare I take time for myself. There are people who need me! It is an enormous hurdle to jump over to make self-care happen. But what if I reframed it?
What if I didn’t think about myself in self-care at all? What if I thought about exercise and meditation as a service to others?
Self-care is Service
Take any self-care activity and view it from those you serve. What is the benefit they will receive? My exercise allows me to be strong and have the necessary energy to help others. My exercise allows me a pain-free body to be able to fully serve. My clear mind allows me to be fully present for my loved ones. My clear mind allows me to make better decisions on behalf of my clients.
This reframing doesn’t seem all that magical. It is a tiny shift in thinking. But it has allowed me to move self-care up from the bottom of my to do list. And it has changed self-care from selfish to service. It might just do the same for you.