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Self-Care or Selfish? Struggling to Find Me-Time

Self-care or Selfish?

Those who know me well could say that in the past I’ve been one of the worst culprits for putting everyone else’s needs before my own. I just want to help and see people happy! That can’t be a bad thing, surely?

Well not at face value. But while many women in today’s world know that putting themselves last can come at a cost, actually changing our emotional reaction to this is not easy.

Your body needs balance

Our body and nervous system need downtime – even if our thinking mind disagrees! In economic terms, there is a diminishing rate of return for that extra time we give to others instead of ourselves. Thinking logically, we’d stop once we’ve given 75-80% of our time to others, and know that that last 20% should be for us to replenish our own energy.

If we don’t do this, our energy “battery” will wear out and the lights will dim in our eyes. Who hasn’t occasionally had a device – or known someone who has – where completely forgetting to plug in to the charger ended up with a battery so low that it was irretrievable without major involvement by a tech savvy friend (or the work “IT crowd”)?

Burnout and chronic fatigue

In humans, that’s called burnout or chronic fatigue. Harvard Med School says that overwork is one major cause of chronic fatigue and finds that women are twice as likely to experience this fatigue as men. It is also most common in the 25 to 45 year age group (when many of us are adding children or new financial commitments to our lives).

But we are often in habits or have limiting beliefs that make us ignore the “Battery Low – Plug into Power” signs. We soldier on, letting our thinking brain convince our better self that we’ll be fine, those people need me!

Some women will refer to common sayings that suggest we should be totally self-less and run ourselves ragged until we collapse – Love Thy Neighbour, for example. And for those with a faith, it can be harder if they feel they should be endlessly helping and loving to everyone.

But… there is always balance in wise words, and the mantra “Love others as you love yourself” requires some thought. It’s that second bit that today’s women need to heed. What does it mean “as you love yourself”? What if I don’t love myself? That I should love myself?

Is self-care selfish?

Well surely loving oneself is selfish and arrogant? Who wants to be seen like that or feel like that? Not most women!  But the sages from over 2,000 years ago are trying to say that if we don’t love ourselves by caring for ourselves and respecting our own need for self-time to really unwind and recuperate, then we’ll never be in a good state to keep giving to others.

So what if you struggle to find Me-Time? For many women, subconscious Fear or Guilt is actually the main barrier. You may not even have recognized this til now! Or if you have, you may not know how to get free from these emotions.  If you’re a perfectionist, ask yourself: Am I really driven to a perfect job with everything… Or could it be more that I feel if I don’t do this, or do it well, then I get other feelings that we’d all rather avoid, such as feeling not good enough, feeling worthless, feeling lazy, worried about people’s reactions, scared to Say No?”.

How can I help you change this?

I help women who are struggling with such feelings – through Emotional Freedom therapy – to reduce their negative thinking and limiting beliefs and get free of these negative emotions. And you won’t need willpower to do that! This recent research paper confirms the effectiveness of this method for improving both mental and physical health. You can also read Kelly’s story here about getting free from exhaustion with Chronic Fatigue (CFS/ME): And let’s talk soon about how I can help you do the same!