I have to be honest with you, I’ve been struggling lately. I got the flu and right after I recovered I was traveling which meant I was out of my routine for over a week. I have been managing my mental health for so long that I don’t even realize how much stuff I do every day to keep my positive energy up. Not journaling, exercising, eating healthy, reading, being around my dog or going for walks really took a toll on me. I spent the last four days recharging and getting back to my healthy habits and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.
If you’re struggling with your mental health today I hope you feel better soon but if you don’t it’s OK. Just keep taking the time to take care of yourself and focus on getting better. It’s so easy to feel like we should be doing other things or that we’re wasting our time when really our mental health affects everything that we do. It’s so easy to feel like we’re being lazy when really we’re just taking the time we need to get better. I really truly think managing our mental health is the most important thing we can do. After I write this I’m going to go lay outside in my hammock with a new book today and I’m not going to feel a god damn drop of guilt. I hope you do the same and take care of you. If you need some ideas check out my post on super easy self-care to do when you’re depressed.
Here are some things to remember when you start to feel guilty for taking care of yourself.
You have more to offer others when you are healthy
It’s easy to feel like the noble thing to do is to put everyone else before yourself. I did this all the time when I started working in a domestic violence shelter. Who was I to need a day off or to need to take care of myself when other women were struggling and needed help? I ended up burning out hardcore after six months of working too many hours. My ultimate goal was to try and help more people by neglecting myself but it ended up biting me in the ass BIG time. There’s nothing noble about always helping other people instead of taking care of yourself. I would have been a better advocate for the clients I was serving and been able to serve more people over a longer period of time if I had taken my own mental health and self-care seriously.
This is your one and only life
Spending time to recharge will help you enjoy your life more and help you have the energy to go after your longterm goals. Do you want to spend your precious life feeling stressed out and deflated? Take the time to do whatever it is you need to do to get you back in your zone of happiness. Our culture glorifies being busy and it can trick you into thinking running around feeling burnt out is a good use of your time. Feeling stressed out doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get to your goals any faster and it has terrible consequences for your mental and physical health. Instead of committing to knocking off as many items as possible on your to-do list commit to feeling good as often as you can. Take the time to go for a walk, meditate, drink tea and read books. Make the things that make life enjoyable a priority because time is a limited resource.
You deserve to feel good
You deserve to feel good now. Not after you’ve helped everyone else or after you got all of your work done for the day. You deserve to feel good in this moment right now. I used to feel like self-care was “for wimps” (yes, really) and that I should be able to power through without taking time off to rest. I ended up learning the freaking hard way by having a pretty spectacular breakdown that taking time off is a necessary and good thing. I felt like I could only take time off to do something fun if I had spent the last week working insanely hard. Now, I make feeling good a priority everyday because I realize that I don’t have to work 60 hours a week to deserve to feel good. I know that I am worthy of happiness and joy just for being myself and doing the best I can in this life.