I think a lot of times, the idea of “taking care of number one” gets a bad reputation. And it’s true, only taking care of number one can lead down a pretty narcissistic road. But I have come to realize that the opposite side of that coin, never taking care of yourself, can be just as dangerous and harmful.

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships. In the interest of “new year, new you” and all that, I have been wondering about what I need to do to be more intentional about the relationships that are important to me. While investing in others is a key component of a healthy and functioning relationship, we often trade in healthy attention on our loved ones for abandonment of investing in ourselves. Not to be overly focused on the double standard but I find that this is even more prevalent in women.

We are the “Yes” people. We are the “No problem, I’ll take care of it!” people. Let the record reflect, men do this too! But as a woman, I think I see it more blatantly among my gender. And ladies, it comes at a cost. In the name of selflessness and putting others first, our self-care and intentional pursuit of joy and health in our own lives has fallen by the wayside. We call it selfish or conceited when we see women who are protecting their own welfare, while deep down we wish we had their courage.

I reject that falsehood. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is vital to every other relationship in your life: with your parents, your children, your significant other, your friends.

Please don’t misunderstand. There is a line between self-care and self-absorption. I am not advocating for being so focused on yourself that you miss the opportunities in front of you to love on the people in your life and put them first every now and then. I am advocating for stopping the condemnation that falls on a woman, (or a man!) who does what is necessary is their own life to maintain healthy balance and joy.

Looking for ways to treat yourself today?

Our area of Kentucky has some beautiful walking trails and parks to experience the beauty of the world. Try out http://www.frankfortparksandrec.com/ or http://parks.ky.gov/ for more information.
Maybe you need some pampering? Check out http://www.beautyseeker.com/KY/Frankfort to find just the right facility for you!
Looking for a place to get away? Try http://www.kentuckytourism.com/places_to_stay/unique_lodging.aspx to find some amazing KY places to which you can escape!

What if you’re strapped for time, money, or other resources? There are still options for self-care.
-Take 5 minutes in the morning (or any part of your day) to breathe deeply and slowly.
-Sit and have a cup of hot tea or coffee. Don’t try to multitask- just enjoy the drink.
-Watch a funny video or listen to music that helps you feel good.
-Take a warm bath.
-Doodle! Even 15 minutes a day can help improve your mood!
-Journal your thoughts, especially about something that you’re grateful for.

There you go!