Embracing “Me Time”: Banishing Guilt and Prioritizing Self-Care

Nov 8, 2023 | Uncategorized

Carving out some "me time" every day shouldn't feel like a guilty pleasure. We all need a little down time, a little self-care, so that we can be the best version of ourselves.

In our fast-paced world, taking time for ourselves often feels like a luxury we can’t afford. The constant demands of work, family, and social obligations can make us believe that prioritizing self-care is selfish or indulgent. Thinking of ourselves makes us feel guilty for having the want or need to take care of ourselves.

However, carving out “me time” is essential for our overall well-being. There are many reasons why we feel shame about taking time for ourselves. And, there are many practical strategies to overcome this feeling and embrace the importance of self-care.

Understanding the Guilt

Guilt associated with “me time” often stems from our society and its expectations and personal beliefs. Many of us are raised to put others first, and taking time for ourselves can clash with this mindset that has been taught to us since childhood. Add on the fear of being perceived as selfish or neglectful of our responsibilities, it can lead to having a guilty complex. It’s crucial to recognize that self-care is NOT selfish; it’s an investment in our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Redefining Self-Care

To overcome guilt, it’s essential to redefine self-care. It’s not just about spa days or elaborate vacations; it can be as simple as reading a book, taking a walk, practicing a hobby, or even just sitting in silence. Understanding that self-care is a necessity, not a luxury, helps diminish guilt associated with taking time for oneself.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial for a healthy work-life balance. Learn to say no when necessary and communicate your needs clearly to those around you. Setting limits on your time and energy helps prevent burnout, making it easier to prioritize “me time” without feeling guilty.  Also, let others know what your boundaries are; let them know it is what is good and healthy for you, nothing against them. At first, it will be difficult to say no, but once you do, there is lot more free and me time!

Managing Expectations

Sometimes, guilt arises from the expectations we place on ourselves. We often believe we need to be constantly productive or available to others. It’s essential to challenge these unrealistic expectations and remind ourselves that taking breaks enhances productivity, creativity, and overall well-being. When we constantly put the pressure on ourselves to be all and do all, we start to self-combust. Understanding that boundaries and not getting everything perfect is really good enough.

Practicing Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself. Understand that you deserve happiness and relaxation, just like everyone else. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging your feelings without judgment. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a close friend. Because sometimes, we have to show ourselves compassion before others will. Once we start being kinder to ourselves, the expectations get lowered and it is easier to set boundaries.

Finding Support

Surround yourself with supportive people who understand the importance of self-care. Share your feelings and experiences with friends, family, or support groups. Knowing that you’re not alone in your struggles can provide validation and encouragement to prioritize “me time” guilt-free. Letting people know that you need a little down time or something a little more calming will let them know you do come first for you.

Defining your own self care

Doing something good for yourself doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Redefining self-care is the key to happiness and a more calm and relaxed you. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas that can get you on the path towards less guilt and more towards being more yourself:

  1. Set a solid bed time – allow yourself a bedtime routine that includes reading, listening to music, stretching and dim lights
  2. Taking a long shower or bath; use your favorite soap or shampoo, add some scents to the water to make you feel like you are on vacation;
  3. Set aside uninterrupted time to read or watch your favorite show or moving; don’t feel guilty for not being productive; just allow yourself to get lost in the plot and the characters;
  4. Get your sweat on – walking, running, biking, group fitness class, hitting the gym, whatever. When you prioritize your health, it makes dealing with all of the other stresses a little easier;
  5. Set up a date with friend – socializing with the people you love is definitely a little bit of you time; and it could be that person’s “me time” too; laughter and talking is good for the soul;
  6. Do something creative – journal, adult coloring books, cooking/baking, drawing, crafting or any DIY project;
  7. And, always, that little bit of treating yourself – get a manicure or pedicure, a massage, treat yourself to something small; enjoy that decadent dessert!

Embracing “me time” without guilt is essential for our mental and emotional well-being. By understanding the where those original feeling of guilt came from, redefining self-care, sticking to our set boundaries, managing expectations, practicing self-compassion, and finding support, we can start to get over the negative feelings and make self-care a natural and guilt-free part of daily routines (yes, I said daily).

Always remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; it’s a necessary act of self-love that empowers you to be the best version of yourself for both you and the people around you.