Self care and you

Self-care and You?

What do you think about self-care? The term went mainstream following the 2016 presidential election in America. However, with its resurgence many misunderstand, misuse, or refuse it.

The concept of self-care originated through the medical community in America back in the 1960’s. Since then it’s passed through academia, politics, civil rights movements and re-entered an aspect of the medical community using the term wellness before politics made it a buzzword (an important-sounding word of little meaning used to impress laymen).

So what IS this thing called self-care and what does it have to do with YOU?


Self-care defined

Self – a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others – per google

Self is the individual person – uniquely me or you. It’s the spirit, soul (mind, will, emotions, personality) and body of a person.

Care – the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something. Serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk. To feel concern or interest; attach importance to something. To look after and provide for the needs of. Per google

To care requires identifying needs and taking the necessary steps to meet them. To pay attention to what is good for well-being. Care attaches value to what is being cared for.

Defining the terms may appear silly or simplistic but it’s necessary.

If you know what something is then you know what it is not.


What Self-care is not

Self – all of who I am or anything I care about. Anything I want to be in charge of.

Care – obsession and preoccupation with who I am or anything I care about. What others think or want is of little concern because my self is more important.

Living out of this definition is a misunderstanding and/or misuse of self-care.

Self – uncertain where the lines are between what is mine and what is not. Me who is less than others.

Care – what I give to others. What I give to myself last.

Living out of this definition creates refusal or resistance to self-care.

I know this first hand.

I lived in this misunderstood and broken perception for a long time until I learned differently. This perception has a warped sense of duty to others. It gives a false sense of honor under the guise of servanthood but in truth is dishonoring. If you are here, there is hope.


What self-care IS

It’s about you but it’s not about you.

If you’ve ever flown on a plane you’ve heard the standard safety speech of seat belts, flotation devices and the masks that could drop from the ceiling.

The instruction regarding the oxygen masks is a demonstration in self-care.

The flight attendant always says to secure your own mask first before assisting others.

Before assisting others.

Not instead of assisting others.

The unsaid expectation is that once you can breathe you will help others.

A person who practices healthy self-care will see their well-being as a source of well-being for others.

Self-care, as it should be, is not an end – it becomes a source. 

Self-care, as it should be, is not an end – it becomes a source. Click To Tweet


Example that changed my life

Our self is like a garden.

Both are filled with whatever is put in them and have the capability to nourish many.

Gardens require care or they will be run over with weeds, have insect or critter problems, dry up or rot. This care is often called tending.

A garden that is tended well provides a bountiful crop. But to partake of the crop it must be harvested or picked – which is also tending.

When you harvest what your garden produces do you give it all away?

Of course not.

When a person gives of themselves without tending to their own well-being it is like giving all the produce of their garden away.

Yet some do this. I’ve done this.

This analogy helped me see the value in self-care.


Proper self-care is important

If I fail to take care of myself I will not have what I need to help others. The tending of self is a perpetual need just like tending a garden.

To practice self-care is to pay attention to what you need and then respond with providing what you need because you have value. Both for yourself and for others.

When we take proper care of ourselves, we aren’t being self-centered or indulgent. Instead, we’re taking necessary steps to be our best selves so we have plenty to give to others.

When we fail to replenish ourselves we have nothing left to give and when we burn the candle at both ends those around us usually get burnt too.

When we burn the candle at both ends those around us usually get burnt too Click To Tweet

How we practice or fail to practice self-care affects everything in our lives.

There are many parts to our lives. We have relationships, jobs, physical bodies, emotions and list goes on.

There are many ways to practice self-care and it’s different for each person. However, the end goal is always the same: a healthy inner life and healthy body empowering us in our lives and the lives of others.

How we practice or fail to practice self-care affects everything in our lives. Click To Tweet

What next:

  • Do you practice self-care or do you struggle with healthy self-care?
  • Do you have an unhealthy definition of self-care?
  • Learn to take a minute. Give yourself a 60-second break right now. It doesn’t matter if it’s closing your eyes and taking a couple slow deep breaths or taking a brief walk. Even if you’re at work you can take just one minute to breathe or stretch or whatever it is you need.
  • Share in the comments a struggle or victory.
  • Share this with someone who would benefit.
  • Read Love’s Manifesto – get it now free – You’re worth it!

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10 thoughts on “Self-care and You?

  1. You do a great job of clearly and articulately breaking down the distinctions between selfishness and self-care. Many other pieces I’ve read on this topic don’t make this distinction and thus I’ve always approached the topic of self-care with a certain amount of guilt, like I’m being indulgent or neglecting my obligations to others. Going along with that, what you said in your email–“fun is an important part of life”–also resonated with me. Many days I feel like I’m failing the world if I don’t march resolutely toward my goals without a moment of down time, but you’re absolutely right in that we don’t have the energy to give back to the world or others if we don’t take some time for ourselves first.

    1. Thank you so much, Kate. That is quite a compliment as well as validation that I succeeded in my goal. I’m so glad it helped you.
      Thanks for being a part of our community here and sharing your heart.

  2. This is very good! I find that many people are trying to take care of others when they are so messed up they can’t take care of themselves. Then, there are those who are moving strongly in a healthy direction but are only concerned about being better. To take care of ourselves so we can take care of others is so important. Are you going to be writing more on this in weeks to come? I hope so!

    1. Thank you, Jim.
      It’s so true that balancing us and others is important. It’s a beautiful thing when we get it right. But our lives are messy and it’s not always that simple.

      Yes, I’ll have more on this subject for the next few weeks, including some guest posts!

  3. Great distinction between what is self care and what may be just selfishness. Finding a balance in meeting our own needs in order to have strength and energy to assist others takes deliberation and thoughtfulness. Thank you for sharing this post.

  4. I designate one day a week for self-care. It can be as simple as stretching out on the couch and veg out on T.V. No phone, no computer. The TV ends up watching me. lol

Please share your thoughts!