We’ve all been there, where we question whether or not we should keep working at a task or take a break. Sometimes that little voice in our head tells us that we need to keep being productive, to just finish that last bit, to power through. That’s guilt talking. Don’t let that control you. Learn how to take control of guilt and improve your own self care.
It may seem like we can’t afford a break in the fast-paced lives we live. Not if you want to stay in the game. Your peers around you work overtime, that girl in the gym does two hour workouts, and that guy does philanthropic work three times a week! What?! How can you even compete?
This brings us to lesson number one…
Don’t compare yourself to others
You’ll never hear the end of it from that tiny voice. We are all people with our own problems and own stories to tell. Some people are naturally better at us at things when we’re better than them at others. Sometimes people have better foundations at tasks than we do, and that’s okay. It’s about finding your own place in this world and developing your own mind. It’s having the confidence to be yourself, sometimes alone. It is easier said than done, but if you’re interested in finding your confidence, check out this article here.
All self care means is taking time to be nicer to yourself. It means that yes, you can have another helping of ice cream. It means that you don’t have to workout today. It means you can spend more time at your friend’s house.
This leads us to lesson number two…
Self care means different things to different people
And for that, we should not judge.
Personally, I think social media has misrepresented what self care is. Sure, it can be your classic girls night doing face masks, eating popcorn, and watching movies. This image, of what self care looks like, is just what is perpetuated throughout social. However, as previously mentioned, that’s not all it is. It could be an allocated amount of time every week or every day that you use for yourself. It could also be the atmosphere you build around your workplace to make it more calming. Or, it could be the simple fact that you don’t punish yourself for not being “more productive”.
I should also note that self care isn’t a feminine task; self care is for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re female, male, or non-binary, because at the end of the day, we are all people. We all struggle. We all have vices. We all need to allow ourselves to have a mental and emotional break so that we can be the best performing individuals we can be.
And here’s our lesson number three…
Stop guilting yourself for taking time to care for yourself
I think women may face this issue more often due to the social climate we’re in. Be a strong, independent woman. Work your way to the top. Be that woman in STEM. Defy gender norms.
It’s a lot of pressure, and while the feminist in me whole-heartedly agrees, I’m no stranger to the fact that I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way. I completely advocate fighting against stereotypes, but being wrapped up in this hectic, 21st century lifestyle has made me forget that I am a human being, not human doing. And so are you.
When it came to self care, I didn’t know how to do it because I’ve truly never done it. So when I tried, I felt guilty. I know all too well that guilt is no small beast. Every time I used to have a break in my schedule, I’d get anxious because there was nothing to do. On the flip side, every time I felt I needed a break, I couldn’t allow myself to take one because there was so much left to do.
I was sleep deprived, low on energy, unmotivated, and was quite frankly at the point where I didn’t give a f*ck about anything anymore, really. Fitness used to be a big part of my week and that began to slip. I also wasn’t disciplined enough to eat healthy anymore, which was also a huge part of my everyday. The list goes on. So, how can you combat guilt then?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to suddenly get rid of it. But it starts with being kinder to ourselves. It starts by saying, Sania, it’s okay that you didn’t work out today because guess what, you needed the break. Tomorrow is only a day away, utilize tomorrow instead.
It’s called empathy.
And that leads us to our final lesson number four..
Have empathy for yourself
Nobody else is going to give yourself a break, so you need to. Remember that taking a break does not make you weak. Certainly, taking a break does not make you unproductive. Use whatever break you have in your day and fill it with peace or fill it with an activity that brings you joy.
The options are endless; you can meditate, take a walk, make comfort food, call up a friend, rekindle family relations, find a puppy playground, put makeup on even if you’re not going out. Or, you can take your makeup off and be a bare-faced, beauty! Check out more ideas on how to take control of your self care.
Again, self care does not always have to be an allocated time for yourself. It won’t always look the same for you as it does to others. It is simply reflecting on the times you can be nicer to yourself, because sometimes the world around us is not. If that sounds like something you need, look into how you can embed self care into your life.
Health and wellness connoisseur, tea drinker, rugby player, feminist, environmentalist, devoted FC Bayern Munich fan, and learner of languages