Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Anyone who has served as a caregiver for any length of time knows the challenges, one of the greatest being self-care. When your focus is on someone else, you put off seeing your own needs and attending to them.

Don’t be fooled into thinking caregiving applies only to the aging. Mothers, spouses, siblings, and friends, anyone who is helping to care for another person is a caregiver. The time involved may be occasional or 24/7, and the level of need varies. But self-care, when serving as a caregiver, or at any other point in life isn’t selfish.

Following are some reasons to make self-care a priority:

Your Health Matters

During the three years I served as a caregiver for my mother, I made the mistake of pushing self-care aside. Sometimes, an emergency interfered. Other times, I delayed routine labs and doctor visits because either there just didn’t seem to be enough time, or they weren’t given priority. I was in my thirties, and I reasoned I was healthy. Although I had frequent headaches, I blamed them on stress.

When I finally had a checkup, after my mother’s death, I was surprised to learn I had multiple health issues. It took five years to return to normal lab numbers and better health.

Even if your schedule is hectic, or you are in a season of caregiving, allow someone to fulfill your role so you can attend to your health. Exercise, proper nutrition, rest, and spiritual food are key factors in self-care. Remember, you are not the only one who can do what you do, and medical conditions don’t wait for a convenient time. Delaying self-care could result in major problems. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish; it is wise.

Rest and Recharge

Often, we run on adrenaline, or caffeine, and push beyond what is reasonable. We think we are coping, and congratulate ourselves for juggling so many balls, until we crash physically or emotionally.

This week, after months recovering from surgery, caregiving, and the administrative aftermath of a family death, I am taking time to rest and recharge. Finishing this post is the only “must” for me this week. Watching the ocean, swimming, rest, prayer, and spending time with my Favorite will help me recharge.

Rest is a crucial ingredient in self-care, so don’t relegate it to a lesser level of importance.

Balance

Maintaining balance in life is one of our trickier challenges. Like a tightrope walker, we often hang a few buckets of worry, stress, and concerns on the tips of our balance pole, making it that much more difficult to find and maintain equilibrium. We teeter one direction and sway the other, buffeted by an overfull schedule and not enough rest, and then wonder why life feels so hard. But keep in mind, you never get points for allowing others to guilt you into over-extending yourself, sacrificing to an unrealistic level, or ignoring your personal needs.

If you struggle with balance, or view self-care as selfish, ask God to help you realize your own importance. Gain your identity not from what you do, but in understanding who God created you to be. Value yourself as much as God values you, realizing that even those who are intent on forward motion need rest and self-care.

“Jesus said, ‘Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.’ For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat (Mark 6:31 MSG).

©CandyArrington

Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
To receive Candy’s blog, Forward Motion, via email, go to https://candyarrington.com/blog/ and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.

You may also like

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.