So how should I explain my predicament? Maybe with a bit of history.
In previous years (and for many, many years) I was conditioned to believe that self-care was a luxury and something done after everything else was tended to. I felt guilty if I spent time doing my nails or adding in a more indulgent beauty routine, because there was always something else that needed my attention. Of course, having kids and being their primary carer meant less time for me. Looking back on it now, it wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t healthy. I was perpetually busy, constantly stressed, doing everything without help and not eating properly because I simply didn’t have time. My biggest and only indulgence was having my haircut and taking the time for a long head massage as my hair was shampooed.
At my worst I was two dress sizes too small (you could see half my ribs), I was exhausted but running on pure adrenalin, and in hospital from sudden allergies to almost everything. It was my body’s way of telling me to stop, but in the environment I was in, that wasn’t an option, so I simply kept on going.
Fast forward to today where I’m still getting things done but I’m not stressed and I’m not rushing around like time is against me. I take time out during my day to look after myself, and that might be simply going on a walk, taking time to read or meditate, doing my nails or moisturising my skin. My diet has improved too. I still skip meals, but only when I’m not hungry (usually because my previous meal was huge or very filling). I love learning new things so I’ve also made the time for personal study interests. How I spend my time now is worlds apart from what it was. And my sudden allergies? They’re gone.
So what’s my dilemma? It’s knowing what the “right” balance is, for me, because I know that self-care time for someone else will be different to mine. But how much time is too much time on yourself? Or is there no real limit because this one body is all you’ve got in this lifetime, so you better take care of it.
In the end though, if I’m getting everything done that needs to get done, then spending the rest of the time on what I want is fine, right? Well I think it is.
So until I come across information that makes me think otherwise, I’m not going to feel guilty for spending time on me… for playing that extra card or board game with the kids… for reading an additional chapter… for singing another song… for watching a movie or a few episodes of my favourite TV series without doing something else at the same time.
Why? Because I feel good. I feel healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally. My body has shown me that it’s happier with the changes I’ve made, so I’ll keep going with this new routine. This new me.