What is the Value of Self Care?

I’ve been thinking about Self Care over the past year, especially recently. I’ve been thinking about the time I spend resting, feeding myself nourishing foods, building strength and generally focused on healing. While I recognize these efforts to take care of my physical, mental and spiritual well-being are valuable, I struggle to accept them as meaningful. Certainly, I value feeling  well rested with reduced pain, clear speech, brighter thoughts and more hope. And yet I feel the weight of selfishness. I struggle to feel like the value of Self Care is meaningful and purposeful to anyone else.

I am getting more comfortable taking care of myself as it has been a clear imperative. However, I remain unsettled by the idea that my primary purpose in the day is to protect my energy, approach all efforts gently, celebrate the few things I do get done and forgive that which I don’t.  As soon as I feel like I’ve figured out how much I am able to do in a day in order to feel rested and functional, I fall back into the mindset of trying to do more. I very quickly fail to remember that I feel like I can do more because I’ve been doing less. So, I’ve been wondering what this cycle is about?

A spinning swirl of sparking lights representing the endless cycle of trying to do more because you feel rested from doing less.
Photo Credits: Todd Quackenbush

Historically, I’ve been more of a ball of energy approaching life head on, shaking the fruit from the trees and making a positive difference in other people’s lives. I find I am eager to get back to that place where I am making a tangible impact so that I have proof my life is valuable and worthy. Partly, it is the contrast between who I used to be and who I am presently capable of being that continues to frustrate and confound me. But then again, it’s also about Self Worth and a lingering, subconscious dependence on External Validation. I am valuable and worthy. You are valuable and worthy. I believe in me. I believe in you. I believe in Our Inherent Worth and Dignity. I forget this simple principle and struggle because of what I have been taught is meaningful and purposeful by the world around me.

A green construction sign that says "take your valuables with you" related to important message of the value of self care.
Photo Credits: Joey Graham

Beyond the internal value of Self Care, being well-rested helps me to be more functional for and present with my loved ones. Being focused on the steps to recovering good health that we have unearthed has the promise of a more enduring ability to bring love, light and meaningful assistance into other people’s lives. Actually, I am doing these things now, but I am doing it in a different way than before. I know I must be because others tell me so. But I forget. I forget because attributes like being more present, happier, more aligned, and more hopeful are less tangible in this Western World of ours. The attributes I listed are hard to touch, quantify and assign economic value. They are soft and, as a friend says, “squishy.” They are not paychecks that fatten my bank account. They don’t support the household function. They are not work deliverables that help the company reach its goals. 

I forget because the intangibles are undervalued, despite their critical importance to the quality of one’s experience as they interact with others. Who wants to spend time with someone who is distracted, miserable and out of integrity? I don’t. I want neither to be the giver nor the recipient of such unpleasant exchanges that are frankly too well tolerated in society today.

A crowded subway car in which everyone is distracted by their phones completely failing human interaction.
Photo Credits: Hugh Han

Being engaged with others who are present, thoughtful, and positive begins with us. It begins with taking care of ourselves so that we can be all these intangibles for others first. We need to demonstrate the meaningful nature of Self Care by doing such things that I earlier described as feeling selfish. All of us need to protect our energy a little better, approach our efforts more gently, celebrate all of our accomplishments and forgive that which we remains yet undone.

So within the context of my current situation, I am working towards truly believing in the worth, value and meaning of being here and now; fully engaged in taking care of myself and healing. As others feel my presence, increased happiness and hope as well as the lightness that comes from alignment, they too will feel happier, lighter, and more loved. What a gift!

What does Self Care mean to you?

Do you see the value of self care?

What one thing can you do today to feel more rested, present or aligned?

A picture of a woman at the far end of the bathroom in a claw foot tub reading a book, epitomizing the value of self care.
Photo Credits: Ava Sol

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