How Do We Handle the Guilt That Can Come With Self Care?

We all know self-care is crucial in almost all circumstances - for new mothers, with stressful jobs, caring for sick loved ones… but how do we handle the guilt that may come with it? How do we follow through with that promise to prioritize ourselves when life happens, events and circumstances get in our way of making us number one. 

You Must Hold Yourself Accountable With Your Own Self Care

Here’s the thing: no one will put you first except you. You must follow through and hold yourself accountable with your own self-care, and do it without excuses, or guilt. 

My favorite self-care option, or should I say indulgence, was going for a spa day by myself. I would book an appointment for a massage just for me- no friends, husband, kids, nothing. It was a day to quiet my mind. I would begin the day by having tea. It was a true treat to sip on this sweet jasmine tea prepared by the resort to calm my mind and begin slow breaths to start my day. I would sit outside amongst the trees and blooming flowers, and quietly listen to the chirping birds and swaying leaves of the palm trees. I could genuinely say I was truly present in the moment. Becoming present in the moment did not happen naturally. It took time and intention to slow down, stop, breathe, feel, and listen. 

When I would get here, it was almost as if I was remembering what it was like to look and feel healthy. To smile, remembering something good, and sitting in that happy memory. Or later eating a special salad that made me feel healthy and whole, that someone prepared for me. Even indulging in a glass of champagne was like a little celebration for myself like “You’re still here, one foot in front of the other, you’re doing great, keep going…” I would give myself little pep talks to give myself a pat on the back, because I certainly wasn’t getting that at home. 

Self-Care Is The Antidote to Guilt

From time to time, guilt would set in. I would feel it driving over in the car for my rest day. I would feel it walking in, and question myself, “Do I deserve this?” It would also pop in when worry would begin to set in, or think I’m supposed to be doing a task like laundry, “how dare I do something for myself?” This would happen over and over in my attempt to rest, relax, and recover. I had to purposely push any negative guilt or thoughts out of my mind. Attempting to stay present and in the moment was tricky, as my mind would get clouded by guilt, worry, and self doubt. Waves of “what is he doing now” would flood my brain. Sometimes anger would pop up, as I simply wanted one day for myself away from the chaos. It would feel like a nagging child tugging at my shirt to come back to the chaos and reality.

As my brain struggled between the shifts of happiness and guilt, I remember getting a massage and I just started crying. I began tearing up because no one had touched me in so long, I forgot the feel of a personal touch. I had become such a brick I didn’t allow myself to feel. Then, realizing how much I was changing in mind and body was a tough wake up call. I recognized that my inability to communicate my thoughts and feelings in a safe way, made me feel more like a prisoner in my mind, body, and spirit. 

Stepping back, with real purpose to grant myself permission to feel, walk through the emotions, and take a break became a crucial part of my practice to stay above water. So if you are feeling like you need a day to yourself- whether that’s a spa day, get your hair done, go out to lunch, indulge in a shopping day- just do it. Remove the guilt. What you’re doing is survival. Take the olive branch.

Voices InCourage can be a part of your journey with self-care. We are a gateway and avenue of resources for an opportunity toward health and healing. 

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