Self-care isn’t selfish

Cathy Brownfield

Self-care isn’t selfish. So why do so many of us feel guilty when we attend to the things we require for our personal well-being? In a recent webinar, “Soar with Self-Care: Refuel Your Well Being,” hosted by Advocates for Human Potential Inc., the facilitators led the participants to re-evaluate where they stand with self-care and well-being.


First, let’s look at what “self-care” actually means. It’s how you take care of yourself on a daily basis, the things that you need for good health and well-being. Do you fuel the spiritual side of yourself? What do you do for entertainment? What makes you feel energetic and on your game? Is it time to step back and evaluate where you stand in seeing to your well-being? There are three things you can consider as you self-evaluate.

— What refuels you? When you feel depleted, what do you need to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and begin again? Take some time to think about it and jot down a list of things that lift you up and set you back on your feet again.

— What habits do you have that get you up and moving? What is your daily routine? Jot it all down.

— Do you have personal boundaries established? You should. Do you honor them, or at the first mention of need from someone, do you push your “stuff” to the back burner and tend to the issues at hand because they take priority over yourself? (It’s very easily done.)


What do you notice about the lists you just put down on paper? What needs to be changed? What do you need to stop doing? And what should you keep that is exactly what you need?

Everyone needs to take care of self every day. Get outside and enjoy the world around you, the fresh air, the antics of the wildlife romping around your yard, squirrels invading the birdfeeders because they are hungry, too. Rabbits searching under your shrubs and trees also scavenging for food. Do you enjoy digging in the dirt, planting flowers or vegetables? Do you enjoy music? Singing? Working out? Do you have hobbies? All of these things help to combat stress.

Here’s a question for you: what gave you happiness as a child? What were your favorite toys? Games? What made you laugh?

It has been documented that children laugh an average of 400 times a day. Adults? About 15. What happened? What makes you laugh? How often do you laugh? A sense of humor will help improve your well-being. It’s some of that self-care we’ve been talking about. Laughter IS the best medicine. Playing is an elixir everyone has need of daily.

So, when you take a look at your life, what depletes you? What refuels or reenergizes you? And what about your boundaries? At what point is someone stepping over the line where you have placed your personal boundary and what is the consequence for violating your boundary? Do you hold to enforcing your boundaries? Or like many people, do you push yourself aside and tend to the business of the person who has intruded on your time because you don’t want to be seen as selfish or self-centered. Self-care is not selfish.

Many people just let their boundaries slide, push themselves and their own business aside to help the people in their lives. Why? Guilt? Thinking that you are being selfish if you say no? At that webinar, one of the things that was said over and over: “No is a complete sentence.” Set your boundaries, enforce the consequences you have set for them, and follow your bliss.

For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, Visit the website at FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.