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Healthy Selfishness

Remembering to take time for yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and others. That time includes not only caring for your physical health, but your emotional and mental health as well. People often wonder why they feel tense or stressed or just off balance; I believe it is because we do not make time for ourselves.

When we do have time for ourselves, we often tend to participate or exist in activities that I fondly call “crashing.” My crashing usually involves sitting in front of the TV watching a mindless show, and while that’s not inherently a bad thing (and can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered!) I know I feel at my best when I use that “ME” time to reconnect or do things that are re-energizing. One such option for re-energizing activities is spending time reading. Enjoying a good book is one of my favorite escapes and pleasures in life.

Another healthy activity for creating “ME” time is walking and exercising. Studies have shown that taking a walk in nature can benefit you both physically and mentally. What did you used to do for fun?  Needle point, scrap booking, jogging, photography?  Where do you get re-energized?

As caring individuals, many of us are doing for everyone else. We are the caregivers of our families, children, parents and elderly relatives. I often feel that I am carrying my “to-dos” as a badge of honor: “I can get all this done and I will be the best mom, wife, sister, daughter, employee.” The reality, however, is that “doing it all,” if the “all” doesn’t include myself, isn’t necessarily healthy. 

Managing our time and energy, including creating time for ourselves, helps us sustain the energy for our important relationships. Think about the safety instructions in the beginning of each flight: Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping your child or others. It may seem counter-intuitive – especially to a parent – but the fact is that we can’t help others if we’re not functioning at 100 percent. What is your oxygen mask today?  This week?

Remember – healthy selfishness is good for everyone.

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