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Self Care is NOT Selfish

 If I had a dollar for every time I say to a client–self-care is not selfish I would be able to retire to a beach somewhere.  Unfortunately, especially as women, we have not been taught the beauty of self-care.  In my practice, self-care is the first homework assignment I give my clients.  They need to pick what ‘soothes their soul’ whether it be a hot bath, reading a good book, journaling, walking, a good conversation with a good friend, writing, a movie, etc.  I usually give women the permission to have 30 minutes of self-care as their homework.  I am consistently amazed at the number of women who return to my office unable to complete the homework–worksheets, yes, self-care no.  Frequently it is because they don’t know how to do self-care–one client took a bath and spent the whole time scrubbing the mud from her farm off her hands. Yes, while that is taking care of oneself it is not SELF CARE.

Over the past few months, I have been working with a teenage client who struggles with being the ‘counselor’ in her circle of friends she is the one that everyone comes to–the one who will listen and worry and be there for you if you are having a problem.  She, not surprisingly, is pretty popular–she is also suffering from anxiety.  Recently her anxiety started dropping; she started standing up for herself, not taking on the drama, recognizing when her bucket was getting empty and making changes accordingly.  Unfortunately, while she felt better, less anxious, more focused and happier, she felt very guilty.  I said to her it is ok to be selfish, and she looked at me like I had 3 heads.  “WHAT!?!?”  She cried–I can’t be selfish.  I said taking care of yourself, having good boundaries, saying NO, saying I don’t need to justify that or defend that action, is healthy.  I don’t think she believes me yet–but fortunately, she is seeing that having good boundaries and putting herself first is allowing her to have more quality people in her life–people that care about her and vice vera.  People that aren’t just using her for her ability to listen or to be the caretaker.  I call these people the globbers because they tend to glob onto our energy, our time, our lives. They aren’t there to help us or add to our lives they are there to take away.

How do you take care of yourself?  How do you make sure your glass stays full?  Do you take time for:

reading a good book?
getting a massage?
walking outside?
talking with a good friend?
listening to music?
laughing out loud?
saying no to things you don’t want to do?
saying yes to things you want to do?

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