Taking the Guilt out of Self-Care

“So, would you like to schedule a massage?” I ask.  A worried look comes over her face. “Well, I’m not sure if I should, it’s such a luxury… and I’d rather gift it to someone else”.
Does this scenario seem familiar? It does for me, as I’ve encountered many a person that has a difficult time carving out some much needed “me-time” for themselves. In this post, I’ll be discussing the how guilt prevents many from enjoying the benefits of massage therapy as well as other self-care routines that improves their quality of life.

The Guilty Party

I hate to admit this but it is mostly women that often suffer from guilt when it comes to receiving loving care and usually place themselves last. Being natural care givers, most women enjoy catering to others. Let me explain, have you ever feel sheer joy from watching someone open a gift you’ve made or savor a dish you’ve recently prepared? That’s because most women truly enjoy giving. It’s in our nature to want to please and we feel great satisfaction when we create something and can revel in the enthusiasm of the receiver.
women are detail oriented

women are detail oriented

This characteristic is a beautiful,selfless trait. However, you’ll often find that most women have an eagerness in giving an excess of time,energy and yes, even money. This is something they take pride in but they are not so comfortable in receiving these same resources from others.

Self-Care 101

Self-care is paying attention to your physical,emotional and spiritual needs as a human being and executing an act that will tend to those vital areas. Ideally, self-care should be done holistically because you are composed of a complex and intricate matrix that is the human body. The goal is to pursue a healthy routine that is consistent and used to restore and rejuvenate. Self-care is also used to serve as a reminder that you are a well-rounded person and also to prevent illness and disease.
It is a discipline that can be very active or can be quiet and calm. Taking many shapes and forms self-care is an experience that you have created to foster love and respect for yourself.
Most of us live in a society where responsibilities are pressed upon us from every side and that will never cease. So it is vital that we are intentional about caring for our bodies.

 The Myth of Luxury

Self-care is very different from leisure activities but is unfortunately categorized as such. Leisure activities and entertainment  can take many different forms,some may be healthy some may not. Recreational activities do not always produce physical benefits for your health. However with self-care,the goal is to engage in something that will prevent sickness,disease, heal ourselves emotionally and give us the opportunity to be kind to our bodies.
While shopping may be fun it's a recreational activity not self-care.

While shopping may be fun it’s a recreational activity not self-care.

Where to Start

There are many choices when it comes to receiving self-care. As a therapist, I enjoy educating others on the multitude of perks from therapeutic massage. The soothing effect on your nerves, the help it gives poor circulation and the opportunity to verbally vent during a massage can decrease stress in impressive ways.
Other cases of self-care include:
  • taking a walk on the beach/peaceful nature trail
  • joining a fitness/dance class
  • registering for a cooking class on how to design a nutritious meal.
  • scheduling a check-up with your doctor or dentist for preventive reasons.
Another form of self-care is taking a dance class. It's wonderful exercise and enjoyable!

Another form of self-care is taking a dance class. It’s wonderful exercise and enjoyable!

You can enjoy these places alone and feel peace within the solitude or make plans with a friend. The goal is to nurture your health and be present in what you’re doing. If you’re mind is running wild with thoughts that stimulate guilt,here are some helpful tips to guide you into a healthy state of mind:
  • stop
  • recognize the guilt
  • breathe deeply for a moment
  • release the guilt
  • Relax your shoulders and re-focus on the here and now.

Tips on when to Schedule

Be strategic. Scheduling your self-care during the work week gives you the ability to enjoy your leisure activities and quality time with loved ones during your day off. Establishing a wellness routine during the days you work helps your mind embrace the self-care as a part of the ordinary and not an indulgence. Putting off self-care because you believe that you simply don’t have time, will soon manifest itself in consequences you’d rather not experience. Use a physical calendar or your mobile device, you can make an appointment for yourself doing something that you know is healthy for you.

Be Specific

An example would be,” I’d like to get a massage once every 2 weeks” now let’s narrow it down. ” I’ll get a one hour massage every first and second Thursday of the month at 5 pm.” That makes it tangible and again, something to look forward to. Having these dates arranged creates a pattern and makes it much easier to follow.
Understand the benefits of your self-care routine will motivate you to schedule.

Understand the benefits of your self-care routine will motivate you to schedule.

Free Your Mind of Guilt

Talk to others and ask them how they care for their health. Seek out people around you those that understand the value self-care gives, this will combat guilt and give you the ability to change your mindset. Those that have a good work ethic but practice self-care,understand that without it, you’re running on empty and can’t give much to anyone after some time.
Do your research on the benefits of massage therapy and other healthy habits and you’ll begin to understand that you’re not just caring for yourself but helping others around you by being happy,healthy and rested.
Be patient, in the beginning you will struggle with feelings of guilt but with any natural form of therapy, you’ll start seeing good results and be motivated to continue.
Eliminate the lie that self-care is selfish and embrace the opportunity to increase your quality of life. Adopting therapeutic massage and other forms of self-care is a way to love yourself and in turn, every desire that you have to help others will come from a place that is replenished and refreshed.
Until next time!
All the best,
Michelle
 P.S. Do you know someone that needs to start on a journey of self-care? If so, click here to design a beautiful designed online gift certificate.

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