Self-care isn’t selfish, and it may not be exactly what you’d think

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  • the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.

“autonomy in self-care and insulin administration”

  • the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

“expressing oneself is an essential form of self-care”


I had an appointment with my mental health care professional recently.  I’ve been feeling off for weeks and haven’t been able to put my finger on why.  I’ve been scatterbrained and irritable.  I’ve had terrible insomnia and a particularly long-lasting bout of depression that I just haven’t been able to shake.  

We talked about options and decided that the best place to focus is on stress relief and my cortisol levels first.

She asked what I do for self-care.  I had to think hard.  

“Really not much” was my answer.  But I was wrong.  I just had to tune in to what self-care means for ME. 

In the past, I thought self-care meant bubble baths, getting my nails or hair done, or maybe a massage.  The problem is, I just don’t enjoy those things very much.  I do look forward to my monthly massage, but I see it as medicinal.  It’s necessary to keep my body in line since my job is so physically demanding.  If I don’t feel slightly tender when we’re done I don’t feel like we did a thorough enough job.  

As we talked, I started thinking of what things bring me joy.  What do I actually get pleasure from?  If I won the lottery, how would I spend my days?  

I’ve joked in the past that I would be an accomplished woman from the Regency Era. 🙂 Honestly, it’s not far off!

 ‘A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.’  

-Caroline Bingley, from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.

All joking aside, it is a good list of activities I actually enjoy.  Learning, and being creative sum it up nicely. 

I love sewing.  I’ve made a few garments and two small quilts as Christmas gifts, but my main goal is to customize the majority of my wardrobe, either from scratch or by tailoring it.  Body image is a huge struggle so making sure my clothing fits properly is important to me.  When you’re comfortable and something fits you well, it changes how you carry yourself and by extension, your self-image.  

I love reading, especially self-help books. I listen to them via audiobook and usually end up getting a physical copy of my favorites.  I listen to them in the car, as I’m sewing, cooking, cleaning, etc. Audiobooks are great because I often have a hard time focusing when I read. I often relisten and read the physical copy simultaneously the second time around and highlight, or make notes.  I find it sticks better that way. 

I recently discovered the Historical Costuming community on YouTube.  Watching videos of other people sewing is relaxing and fills my creative bucket with new ideas.  

Now that I’ve done a little soul searching, and I realize what activities leave me feeling relaxed and refreshed, I can make sure I’m getting the most out of them. By consciously acknowledging the things that bring me joy I can make more time for them and let them be therapeutic, as well as fun. I highly recommend sitting down and figuring out what works for you. It may end up being in different ways than you think. 🌹

“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”

-Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

2 thoughts on “Self-care isn’t selfish, and it may not be exactly what you’d think

  1. Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. If I understand your question correctly, what’s next for me is continuing to explore creative avenues that I enjoy. There’s always something to learn. However, if you mean what’s next for the blog, I took a little pause here, as another form of self-care. I have a few posts in progress that have started to call to me again. I’m learning to embrace the ebb and flow of my mental health needs still. 😊


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