Self-Care is Not Selfish!

Self-care; Woman kayaking on a lake.

I recently gave a virtual address to a woman’s group with a presentation entitled “Girl, It’s Time to Get a Little Selfish.”  This is a topic that many leaders struggle with, women and as well as men. Everyone shares that age-old thinking—if I’m taking care of myself instead of my team, that’s being selfish, right?


Self-care is something you owe to yourself because by taking time out to tend to your personal, emotional, and physical needs, you’ll emerge fresher to take care of your partner, children, community, and career.

I asked the group what they would do if they had more time for self-care and the answers were delightfully varied, but all catered to the physical, mental, or emotional needs we all have: 

  • Travel
  • Exercise
  • Read
  • Meditate
  • Paint
  • Sing
  • Yoga
  • Sports
  • Spend more time at the cabin
  • Pamper myself- nails, massage, etc.
  • Learn to play an instrument 
  • Scrapbook
  • Garden 
  • Hire a personal trainer
  • Spend more time with friends
  • Road trip

Sounds like self-care to me! And what would happen if you had a little time for all of these things?  

Your needs would be met, and it would become easier to know where your barriers are. You could work with your team well but also give yourself the care you need when you need it most. 

You would say “yes” to productive activities and NO to time-sapping, energy-draining thoughts!

No more comparing yourself to others.

It’s easy to recognize when that coworker, neighbor or family member is accomplishing more than you, or succeeding where you’re not. Those of us (including myself) who were raised in an over-achieving family totally know what I’m saying. The message is if you aren’t busy, you aren’t good enough, or if you didn’t succeed, you aren’t working hard enough. 

Remember, comparing yourself to others is irrelevant to your success. A better measure of success is not what you are NOT doing but what you ARE doing. 

Celebrate that. And build upon it. 

No more hanging on to guilt! 

Stop feeling guilty when the word “I can’t” or “no” comes out of your mouth! My client, Brook,came up with a great visual when she was working on balancing her time and priorities. She likened her energy to a bouquet of ten balloons she gets each day. She didn’t want to “pop” her energy balloons in frustration and things she didn’t really want to be doing; she wanted to use her “energy” balloons to do the strategic, proactive tasks she wanted to do. 

Good plan!

It comes down to choice. You can cancel commitments or renegotiate the terms. In other words, when you let go of guilt, get selective, and practice saying “no,” you end up accomplishing more than you think you can.

No more “have” tos! 

Conditioning is the idea that we are trained or “conditioned” to accept certain circumstances. Too often, women in particular learn that you can either be selfish or community-oriented.

Well, the fact is, it’s not an either/or proposition. Are you one of those people  conditioned to feel uneasy with success and self-care because of our natural inclinations, heritage, family, friends, environment, and self-limiting beliefs? Along the way we even learn that crying is a no-no, which is a powerful way to repress important feelings that when released, lead to more innovative thinking.

Yes, you can change your conditioning by being fearlessly vulnerable and sharing what’s on your mind. One attendee shared the relief she would feel if she could stop guessing what others are thinking. They key would be giving herself and the person in a conversation permission to just get real. 

What a refreshing idea for any leader! 

The point is that you have a right to reject or change the negative conditioning that stifles your creativity, leadership skills, and limits who you can become. You can choose an approach to self-care that is NOT selfish and become a better version of yourself. 

Double Dog Dare: Think through these concepts in reflection on your own life. Take some action and you will tap into your creativity to develop better solutions. 

And tapping into more of your potential is what the LeadWell program is all about. 

Do an exploration call with me today to start setting boundaries and getting more serious about your self-care. We can help. 

Or watch my free masterclass called, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!

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