There’s an all too common misconception that has insidiously seeped its way into the collective belief system: taking care of yourself is selfish. I hear it from clients all the time and I even used to feel that way, too!
Here’s a little secret to being a better, more powerful person: put yourself first.
What was your reaction upon reading that last sentence? Did a bit of anxiety present itself? Did you think I was crazy or that such a notion is just utterly selfish?
Well, I invite you, just for a moment, to hear me out on this one. As a nutritionist and yoga teacher, I make it my mission to empower others to transform their lives and this starts by placing themselves on top of their priority list.
Here are five simple reasons why taking care of yourself makes you a better person:
1. When you take care of yourself, it is in fact, selfless.
By ensuring your needs are met and you are truly nourished on all levels, you are more present, more awake, more peaceful, more energized, and healthier. This in turn allows you to more powerfully show up in your life for others and to do so in a manner that leaves you charged and not depleted.
2. You are only responsible for you.
Period. Your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and reactions are yours and you cannot control those of others. Cultivating a deeper relationship with yourself through various self-care activities that truly delight and nourish you is the only way I know to get in touch with these thoughts and the driving forces behind actions, beliefs, and reactions. You give yourself the freedom and permission to let go of the fluff and get to the heart of what you’re really all about in life.
3. Only you can identify and meet your needs.
No one is going to do it for you and no one can help you if you don’t know what you need help with! If being so frazzled that lashing out at your partner, children, or the check out person at the store is a common occurrence, I’m definitely speaking right to you. I bet this nerve-fraying stress is because you are really “tired” or something of the sort, right? Well, why are you tired? Identify what needs in your life aren’t being met and gather the resources to meet them! Pushing through life, having an all or nothing mentality, and constantly being a martyr is doing no one any good at all, despite what may be your best intentions.
4. The mental clarity and energy you gain is unbelievable.
When we really let go and jump off of our self-imposed “hamster wheel” and spend time with and on ourselves, the extra clarity and mental and physical energy that is available is extremely potent. And the best part? All the possibilities!
5. What kind of example do you want to be for those around you?
Think of who looks up to you and relies on you – your colleagues, children, partner, friends, etc. When you take a bold stand for yourself, it gives others the green light to do so, as well, and wouldn’t the world be a much better, happier place if we all spent more time tending to our needs and stoking our inner spark? I certainly think so.
The bottom line is this: this is your life and it’s happening now. Each moment is a sacred gift and each moment deserves the highest quality of attention and intention. You deserve and require as much TLC as you give to those around you, if not more. Honor this fact and pledge to take nourishing action steps for yourself. Take care of your physical body through wholesome nutrition, movement, and plenty of sleep; take care of your mental and emotional needs through creative expression, socialization, journaling, meditation, and learning; and seek a connection to something that is greater than yourself to really seal the deal and guide your endeavors each day.
So, what do you say? Soak in a bubble bath tonight? Take a lunch break outside in nature? Sit in silence and do absolutely nothing? Get to it!