Self-care is all the things you do to take care of your health and well-being in the key dimensions of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

  • What reaction does the word self-care evoke in you?
  • Take a moment to sit with this. Are you familiar with the term?
  • Is taking care of yourself a priority for you?
  • Where would you list self-care on your priority list?
  • Does a word like self-care trigger the word, or feeling, of being selfish?

If your answer to the last question is yes, there is probably good reason. From the time we were toddlers and hoarding our toys from our playmates, we probably heard the phrase “don’t be selfish”. Being selfish, we all know, is not a good trait. We don’t like selfish people and likely won’t feel good if we are accused of being selfish.

For many of us, even if it’s subconscious, taking care of ourselves can feel selfish. To benefit from self-care, we need to divorce it from any feelings of selfishness. Let me convince you why self-care is the opposite of selfish.

Self-care is not about putting your needs ahead of others. If you are feeling physically, mentally and emotionally great, think about how much more you can bring to your life and therefore to others. We know that when we are on top of our own game, we have more energy and enthusiasm to support and inspire others.

Many activities that nurture us and contribute to our self-care often bring benefits to others who are with us – things like workouts, faith-based activities, connecting with nature, team sports, etc. For these and other reasons, self-care is actually the opposite of selfish. By being your best self, you maximize your contribution to others.

The starting point for good self-care is feeling positive and accepting of yourself. Let’s face it, if you don’t care about something, you don’t look after it.

Positivity and acceptance of yourself can come from your self-talk. Do you notice how you speak to yourself? As you begin to take notice of your internal conversations, if you are finding negative and non-supportive thoughts, practice steering yourself into more positive territory. Try to accept that negative feelings and emotions such as guilt, shame, regret, etc., are part of our universal human experience. Notice and acknowledge these thoughts but avoid condemning yourself. We are all human and fallible. I find a useful antidote to negative self-talk is replacing the thought with something positive about myself.

If you have serious negative views of yourself and find yourself consistently in a self-destructive mindset, please contact our CCMF counselling program. There’s hope and there is support.

At the heart of self-care is loving yourself enough to look after your well-being as a first and non-negotiable priority. When your mindset is in the right place and you feel good about yourself, you are well positioned to consistently prioritize your own well-being.

By taking care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being, you will be more resilient and satisfied. You will be able to offer your full potential and capabilities to everyone who is important to you. That’s two great benefits from dedicated self-care, and there is nothing selfish about either of them.

  • Who do you love and care for that makes you want to be your best self?
  • What activities restore you, energize you, fill your cup?
  • What small but positive steps to better self-care can you begin to apply today?

With loving kindness,

Coach Billy