Self-Care Is Nothing To Feel Guilty About, And We'll Tell You Why

When you have a never-ending to-do list, some days feel longer than others. You're running errands all day, and you don't feel like you have time to take a moment and breathe. Those days — when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or tired — take a toll on your body, so you stop for a few minutes to sit down and close your eyes. But then you become alert, get up, and start finishing your tasks. You may even feel bad for taking a second to sit. The truth is, taking a moment to practice self-care is essential, even if you're just sitting for five minutes.

Many people feel guilty for simply taking the time to make a meal and enjoy it. They think they should be up and running every second of the day. However, that kind of hustle can be detrimental to your well-being. Practicing self-care in any form should be welcomed more instead of being pushed aside. When you don't relax, enjoy your shower, or lay down for a few minutes, your body can feel overworked without rest. You might think you should spend your time doing productive things, but you should allow yourself to have slower days without feeling guilty about them. There are many benefits to self-care moments, and they don't always have to involve pampering. Here's why you shouldn't feel guilty about pressing pause.

You're taking care of your needs

First and foremost, you take care of yourself when you engage in self-care — whether you're going on a walk, taking a bath, or slowly eating a meal. You're taking care of your body when it needs it. We often associate self-care with pampering moments, like face masks, getting our nails done, or going shopping, but there's more to that. For example, it could be taking the time to sit on your couch and rest for 15 minutes after you've been running errands all day. You might think it's selfish to take time to do something nice for yourself. But, in reality, you're taking care of your needs.

When you're well-rested and have had a meal, you're nourishing your body and giving it the rest it needs to make it through the rest of the day. Feeling guilty for putting yourself first can lead to burnout. On the other hand, indulging in self-care allows you to create healthier boundaries with yourself and the people in your life. Taking care of yourself increases your confidence and self-worth, which makes setting boundaries easier because you know how valuable you are. It'll be easier for you to walk away from situations that don't work, or advocate for things that bring value to your life.

Don't be resentful toward yourself

It's easy to make yourself feel bad after you've been resting. You think about how there were things you could have been doing and using the time to accomplish x, y, and z — but that takes away from enjoying your much-needed rest or self-care. In addition, having the mindset that you should be productive at all hours of the day will never fulfill you the way you think it might. Your body and mind need a few moments to relax without worrying about what you could be doing instead.

Avoiding being resentful toward yourself after you've practiced self-care can help prevent feeling resentful toward your family, friends, and coworkers. Giving yourself as much love and patience as possible will allow you to pass that on to your loved ones. It can be tiring tending to the needs of others first because it doesn't leave room to give yourself the same energy you give to others. It's vital to understand that without allowing yourself to be taken care of and ensuring you're healthy and happy, you won't be able to be present in other people's lives. You'll be surprised what five to 10 minutes of sitting can do for you, your body, and your mind.

Self-care strengthens your immune system

When you're feeling guilty about taking time to do something nice for yourself, remind yourself that it's beneficial to your health. Being under a lot of stress can harm your health, especially your immune system. High amounts of stress can cause you to get a cold or illness easier. By engaging in self-care, you're nourishing your body with healthy food, exercise, and rest that help protect and strengthen your immune system. In addition, pampering self-care, like skincare, getting a manicure, or watching your favorite movie, gives you a boost of serotonin that positively impacts your mind.

Think about how much stronger your immune system will be instead of feeling guilty. Daily reminders will make reading a new book for half an hour more enjoyable. Be kind to yourself through those challenging moments. If you're starting to feel guilty, do some breathwork to bring your mind and body to a peaceful state. It won't be easy at first, but the more self-care you do, you'll recognize that it's essential to put yourself first.

Think of self-care as an investment

Understanding what self-care can bring into your life can make it easier to do it more often. For example, thinking of self-care as an investment that will bring only positive things into your life will make you feel less guilty when you do it. You'll be rewarded with benefits that will affect you positively long-term. You won't be as angry, regretful, or stressed by slowing down and doing your best to care for yourself. Instead, you'll be able to manage any stressors when your body is in relaxation mode (rather than fight or flight mode). Plus, you'll be open to accommodating and adapting to things not working out and moving things around that you couldn't get done in time.

Giving too much, especially to folks who always need you, can take a toll on you. Taking time for yourself allows you to recharge your social battery and re-energize so that you can get through the day, be more present in the lives of your loved ones, and feel more at peace. Try some small shifts, like eating at certain times, resting throughout the day, or spreading your to-do list over a few days. Invest in your time and yourself to plan new things you've wanted to with good energy, instead of setting it aside for a later time.