Guest Post - Holli from A Wondering Spirit

Girl Swinging

Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary? (Sir James M. Barrie)

Self-care is an interesting topic. There are many opinions out there, and we often hold varying viewpoints within ourselves. Have you ever teetered between feeling proud of yourself for having good self-care, while also wondering if what you're doing is selfish? Should you put yourself first? What about caring for those most important to you?

Today's guest post from Holli takes a close look at these questions. She brings up some great points — most importantly, what works for me might not work for you. We can share our tips and tricks with each other, but it's up to each individual to discover what makes her heart sing. What provides her with solace, comfort and peace.

Lately, I've found joy in rising early so I can spend time blogging before heading into work. I put my headphones on, sit down, and write. It feels so good — a little space for me before diving into a busy day. I hope you find Holli's guest post thought-provoking. I would love to hear your insights on self-care in the comments below!

Holli (or as she is known on her blog, A Wondering Spirit, the Great Askini) is a 30-something accountant, wife, and mother. Her blog focuses on life & how to improve it, which sometimes includes thoughts on parenting, creative writing, style and exercise. She also attempts to fulfill her dream of being the next Dear Abby each week with her Wondering Wednesday advice column. Follow her on Twitter at @thegreataskini.

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Three years ago, I found a job which requires me to only report to the office four days a week. After my daughter was born and I returned to work, I started taking her to daycare on that fifth day and using it to do the kind of household chores that would normally get done during the weekend—things like going to the grocery, running other errands, getting my hair cut, and washing dishes and clothes. I did this so that I could spend my entire weekend focusing on our little family and not rushing around feeling like I had hardly seen my daughter. (It helped, of course, that my daughter loved daycare and begged to go, even on weekends.) Is this self-care or simply selfish?

I love to ride my bicycle, do yoga, and walk. Back in April, I walked my first half-marathon, and I’ve signed up to do another one in October. Lately, though, due to some sleep issues, I’ve been too exhausted to do much exercise. I set a goal of exercise every single morning as I’m getting ready for work, but by the end of the day, that goal is almost always left unmet. I tell myself I’m taking care of myself by listening to my body and recognizing that I’m tired, but I also feel that I’m not taking care of myself by moving my body lovingly and helping to increase my life expectancy. Is taking a day off from exercise self-care? How about two days? How about two weeks?

As you can see, I have a lot of issues with self-care. I tend to be an “all or nothing” thinker, and I have a hard time with the lines between self-care, self-indulgence, and simply beating yourself up. Lately, I’ve been using an affirmation along these lines: “I’m not perfect, and neither is anyone else, and we are all okay.” Although I feel silly saying this to myself over and over again in my car during my morning commute (hopefully everyone else thinks I’m on a Bluetooth!), I have found that it helps alleviate some of my feelings of guilt about doing what I think is best for me and for my family on any given day.

Spending my day off doing errands while my daughter is taken care of by someone else might not be right for you. It might not be right for most people. But right now, it’s right for my family. Not pushing my body beyond its capabilities might not be right for you either. But right now, it’s right for me.

I’m not perfect, and neither is anyone else. But we are all okay.

Where do you draw the lines between self-care, self-indulgence, and feeling selfish?

Image Credit: 0256 via Cia de Foto