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Motivational Monday: Take Time For Self-Care

meditation photo “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” – Audre Lorde

I once had a supervisor who at the end of every meeting asked “what did you do for self-care this week?”  I’d sigh and think to myself, “who has time for self-care?”  At the end of one particular meeting, I sat and listen as my co-workers responded.  They talked of gardening, walks on the beach, hobbies, and other fun activities.  When he turned and asked what I had done, I replied, “Um, well I took a bath.”

You see I thought taking a bath was self-care for me.  As a matter of fact, if I could use the bathroom without my 3 year old  staring me in the face or pounding on the door asking multiple questions, I considered it self-care.  However, as I sat and listened to all the responses around me something hit me.  I began to realize that I didn’t engage in self-care at all, I just took advantage of small breaks.

Self-care is the intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health.  I think the key word is intentional.  It’s the time you purposefully set aside for yourself.  It’s not selfish, it’s not self-indulgent, and it’s not laziness – it’s essential.

You don’t have to earn self-care, you can just take it.  I used to tell myself, “if I finish (insert task here), then I’ll take some time and (insert reward here).”  However, what I found was that once I finished a task I was often on to the next without a break.

I admit that I still struggle with self-care.  I often find myself feeling guilty for taking time for myself when I could be doing something else.  I just have to remind myself that self-care is equivalent to self-preservation.

If you find that self-care is difficult for you as well, here are some tips for incorporating self-care into your life.

1) Set aside time.  Make a date with yourself.  Pick something you enjoy and commit to doing it.  Life happens, so your plans may get cancelled – but make it a priority to reschedule.  You wouldn’t cancel a date with someone without rescheduling would you?  So don’t do it to yourself.

2) Sneak a little in. If you’re like me, you may not have large chunks of time to dedicate to self-care.  If you don’t, make sure it gets in where it fits in.  When you’re waiting at a doctor’s office, it’s a perfect time to read a book.  What about when you’re stuck in traffic?  That’s a perfect time to take some deep breaths and practice gratitude.  If you want to exercise and find you just don’t have the time for long workouts, take a 5-10 minute walk.  Make it work!

3) Stop feeling guilty.  There is laundry to be folded, phone calls to be returned, emails to be read, and planning to be done – these are facts.  Want to know another fact?  Those things can wait.  If you take time to do something for yourself, you can do those things later – and maybe you’ll be a little more relaxed while getting them done.

Take care!


Motivational Monday: Take Time For Self-Care

Donna M. White, LPC/I, CACI

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APA Reference
White, D. (2015). Motivational Monday: Take Time For Self-Care. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from


Last updated: 12 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Jul 2015
Published on All rights reserved.