I’ve been seeing this phrase pop up more and more often on social media platforms, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Self-care is fundamental in achieving mental, emotional, and physical health. Yet frequently, a hefty dollop of guilt is served right on top of self-care practices. Women are expected to put everybody’s needs before our own. It’s ingrained in us. Even the thought of doing something for ourselves before we make sure everyone else is taken care of is often dismissed, and considered ’ridiculous’. But here’s the thing: Loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves allows us the ability to better love and take care of others. Dr. Andrew Weil once said,

“Each time the heart beats, it first pumps blood to itself, then to the rest of the body. It has to work this way in order for us to stay alive. The same is true for us as human beings. We have to take care of ourselves first, so we can take care of others.”

Everyone knows the age old saying, “treat others the way you would like to be treated”, well, shouldn’t that apply to ourselves as well? Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you. If you’re constantly pushing your needs aside to appease the demands of others, that sends the message that people can expect that of you. People will expect their needs to put above your own personal wellbeing. That’s not exactly the recipe for a healthy relationship is it?

Self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant. You don’t have to have a Donna and Tom Treat Yo’Self Day – although if that’s what your particular brand of self-care looks like, then more power to ya. Authentic self-care can be as simple as setting aside 10 or 15 minutes in the middle of your busy day to enjoy a cup of coffee. It can be a bubblebath. Taking a walk. Playing with your dog. Having a glass of wine. Stretch. Dance. Nap. Your self-care is about you. Push aside thoughts of how it might affect those around you, because that isn’t self-care, and it leads to feelings of guilt and selfishness.

Taking care of yourself isn’t easy. It requires courage, commitment, and willingness. But when you make it a priority, it allows you to be more emotionally and mentally available for the important people and things in your life. You deserve to put yourself first. You deserve to take care of yourself.