"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain" (unknown)

"Without Darkness, there would be no Light" (unknown)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is YOU Time, Selfish?

Is taking time out for yourself, selfishness? Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to somebody else in order to say yes to YOU. Is this selfishness? No, it is not… when it is done for the right reasons. I’m not talking about mass amounts of YOU TIME, I’m talking about taking care of yourself. It does not mean putting yourself above everyone or everything else, it just means that you need to set boundaries.

Some people find the concept very hard; it makes them feel guilty. I understand that most of us feel like we should or could be doing something for somebody else, helping others in some way, be it strangers, or our family and beloved friends, and often times we feel obligated to do the very best we can for our families, etc because they mean so much to us, and that’s ok, BUT you need to take time out for yourself.

Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves; this is why boundaries are important. I am not saying to stop helping others, or to stop caring for your family, but that it is important to also take care of YOU. Think of as by caring for yourself, you are enabling yourself to better care for others; you want to stay physically and emotionally healthy so that you CAN do what you feel it is important to do for those that mean the most to you, or for the community. If you wear yourself down, then you will not be able to continue those things.

Taking care of yourself is as simple as taking as little as 30 minutes doing something for yourself; Schedule 30 minutes out of your day each day to meditate, take a bath, take a walk, practice yoga, or read a book, treating yourself to a Frappuccino, etc, whatever it is that relaxes you or is enjoyable for you; something that pampers YOU.

Now with that being said, I am sitting here in judgment of myself. My depression often permits me... if permit is the word, maybe it’s more of an excuse… ok it gives me the excuse to shut the world out. This takes me to the opposite end of the spectrum, the very unhealthy side.

Shutting myself off from everyone and everything is a symptom of depression and depending on the severity of the depression… well, things can get rough, so is this selfishness? Maybe; however it is partly due to the disease. I admit it; I am guilty of closing myself off… in my bedroom. Yep, that’s my hidey-hole, my sanctuary. I often sleep the day away, but sometimes I just bury my nose in a good book or I socialize via my computer. I’m bad at that, really… always have been. So this is the unhealthy side of the taking-time-for-yourself-spectrum; this is the MASS-AMOUNTS of you-time… this kind of you-time is NOT ok, and it needs to be fought.  For me, I choose to battle depression without assistance of a Psychologist; that sort of treatment has never worked with me. I’ve been at this most my entire life, and I’ve learned a few tricks that work for me; however please be advised, what works for me does not necessarily mean it will work for others.

Over the years I’ve come to recognize that by forcing myself out into the world doing something, anything to get me out of the house helps, whether it’s just window shopping, a long drive, a walk in the forest, etc. Forcing myself to get involved with my family or friends works great too, even if I’d much rather not; just visiting helps, but it works best when it’s in public, be it a restaurant, a movie, or even if it’s visiting our local forest.

Along with the above activities, I practice Positive Affirmations, Chakra work, and meditations… and if none of that works, I’ve got a problem, and I will turn to St. John’s Wort. St. John’s doesn’t work overnight, in fact it can take up to 3-5 weeks, and if I don’t see a difference, I will then make an appointment with my doctor and begin prescription medication if necessary… this has become a rarity though, because as I’ve gotten older I have learned what works and what doesn’t work for myself, and I am able to recognize the warning signs before it gets really nasty.

You might be thinking, “By the time you go through all that, isn’t it already too late?” Actually no… because it does help… even just a little, and it holds off the nasty stuff until I can get medical help…. But like I said, that’s ME and what works for me, will not necessarily work for others. Please listen to YOUR body and get the help YOU need.

Anyhoo, back to my original thought… as long as you set healthy boundaries, taking time for YOU is perfectly ok… in fact most people in the healthcare field (mental health or physical health) will tell you the same thing. Sometimes we have to say no to others, and that’s ok. That’s my rant for the day LOL

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