Why Taking Time For Yourself Isn't Selfish

Why Taking Time For Yourself Isn't Selfish

DIY self-care because you need it.

If you're looking back and can't remember the last time you had any "you" time... this one's for you. Nowadays, we seem to be on everyone else's schedule but our own. Whether you're going to school, hold a job, volunteer, have kids, etc. LIFE GETS BUSY MAN. So who are living for? And why does self-care actually matter?

Most people think that millennials still have a lot left to figure out (which is totally accurate) but self-care we have packed down to a science. Not that we do it or actually follow our own advice... But you can't surf Pinterest or even Facebook now without seeing the latest DIY bath bomb, green smoothie, or a top 10 list of coffee shops in your area.

Yes, mom and dad, I totally just paid four dollars for that latte but it had an extra shot of espresso because I can't survive without it.

Nonetheless, the idea isn't to break the bank on unnecessary expenditures, but if you're working hard for what you have, don't completely spend yourself without investing in yourself. You need a reminder every once in awhile that your hard work is paying off.

So, with that said, here's a few stress-relieving, mind-freeing, tension-easing, self-care ideas to get you ready for the day and they won't break the bank!

1. DIY latte.

We all know that guilty feeling of paying for over-priced coffee all too well... but we still do it. So skip the guilt and chill at home in your pj's instead. Turns out, you don't actually need a fancy machine to make your favorite copy-cat drinks.

A latte with milk foam is doable with a blender or any kind of mixer with a high speed. All you do is whip your milk in a mixer, on high, or a Ninja Bullet for about two minutes (whole milk is best to obtain maximum foam). You can add vanilla, sugar, or any of your favorite coffee additives to your milk at this time. Then pour your coffee in your favorite novelty coffee mug and add your milk.

2. Date Night with ya girls.

You know they say that laughing is the best calorie burner?

snl yes GIF

Even if you probably burn more calories on that dreadful walk across campus, laughing is an all-in-one. You have that brief moment of forgetting how stressful life can be. Or you're laughing about how stressful your lives are now and you all just consider becoming strippers.

There's something about being with your girls that gives you confidence and you really don't feel like you're alone in this. Plus you haven't worn that outfit that you know you look good in, in a while. Your friends are there just to confirm it.

mila kunis comedy GIF by TOBIS Film

3. YouTube some yoga poses.

Yoga memberships can be pretty pricey. So if yoga is something you've always thought about, give it try at home. YouTube has various videos like meditation yoga that helps with breathing and stability or faster-paced yoga if you want to kick-start your day.

Either way, you'll most likely feel more centered after experiencing the beautiful art of yoga and improving yourself through this healthy habit.

dog yoga GIF

4. Take a drive to the next town over.

There's something about just getting out of town and into a new environment for a little while. Try to visit some of the places that interest you or that the town is known for. Also, keep a lookout for those old hole-in-the-wall cafe's that usually have some phenomenal home baked goodies. If anything, walk their downtown area and just breathe in some new air.

dogs driving GIF

5. Take a green tea bath.

Green tea work wonders on your skin. That's right. DETOX. You can buy a box of family size green tea bags at your local grocery store for less than two dollars and soak in a detox heaven with just three or four bags. If you really wanted to feel lavish for less, look into buying a lavender scented candle to help you relax a little bit more.

6. Volunteer.

The point of self-care is spending your time in fruitful ways. Something that will bring joy to you. So if you're constantly giving your time to demanding people, volunteering will allow you to devote some time to a few folks that truly appreciate you and your service. Bonus: typically you'll only hear uplifting, positive comments which are so good for the soul.

Truth is, I believe everyone is right where they're supposed to be for a reason. If you feel a need or calling to volunteer, you may find some inspiration how to help others in different areas of your life as well.

7. Try a new devotional.

Devotionals give you more than just something to look forward to, they give you a goal to accomplish every day and something to center yourself back to. If your devotional that morning was about trusting in Him in a time of trial or slowing yourself to become angry, then your devotional and peaceful time with God can continuously pop up throughout your week.

8. Jump start your day with green.

According to most health food junkies out there, nothing says self-revival like a green smoothie. A frozen sliced banana, 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, some honey, and spinach should help you fight off bloating and fatigue throughout your morning. Just watching the green in the blender may

9. Spend some time where you are completely stress-free.

So that doesn't mean neglect your responsibilities such as homework or calling in sick that day to work.. but it does mean setting sometime out for yourself where time allows and you know you know you won't be flustered or stressed out. If something is really weighing on your mind, sometimes taking a step back from the situation without any added commentary is the only way to truly analyze the circumstances. You may find that you do some of your best thinking here.

10. Learn to say "No."

"But I didn't actually do anything." Uh, yes you did. You recognized that you are not enslaved or obligated to do anything that will add stress to your tasks you already have (unless your boss asks you to do something and you're wanting a promotion. You may want to think that one over.) I'm talking to the girl that seems to say yes to EVERYTHING.

To the point that your sleep schedule is affected because you already skipped lunch that day to have enough time for everything and all you have left if five hours left in your day. Apparently, in life, there's this thing called sleep that lets you function normally. No worries college goers, you'll experience it once you get your degree.

Bottom line: Love who you are, be proud of what you do, don't sell your self short. Unwind, because, in the words of Drake, "[we're] here for a good time, not a long time."

Cover Image Credit: bonjourjolie

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Understanding What It's Like To Live With An Anxiety Disorder

Having no control over your own mind is scary.

Anxiety disorders are no fun for anyone. Most people don't understand what it's like to be someone who suffers from one. They come without warning and without reason. As I am writing this, I am awake at an ungodly hour due to this stupid battle my mind is having with itself.

Let me help those of you who do not understand what this illness is like.

At random moments, I will get this building worry and fear that something isn't right. Everything could be just perfectly fine, but my mind will trick itself into believing that something is wrong.

It will convince itself that my life is falling apart. I will worry about one thing one minute and talk 90 to nothing then start to worry about another thing. My mind constantly switches back and forth and will convince itself that things are worse than what they really are.

All the while, I'm trying so hard to calm myself down... but it is impossible.

It will send me into a depression. A depression that causes me to hate myself for being so crazy and irrational at times. This depression is the worst part. It causes me to want to space myself from the world and everyone around me. It causes me to feel alone with my illness, and it will cause me to be too terrified to talk those that are closest to me about what it is that I need from them.

I feel needy, and I'm repulsed. But I can't help it.

The hardest thing is for me to find peace with myself during the depression stage. Most times, it switches back to worry and will keep me up all night. Staying up all night causes me to feel irritable the next day, which in turn causes those around me to steer clear. Which in turn causes me to go right back into depression and battle myself for being mentally ill.

You see, there's something those of you who don't suffer from anxiety need to understand: WE CAN'T CONTROL IT.

No, it doesn't make us crazy. We don't need you to tell us that we are acting crazy. We are already well aware of this and telling us that will only make our condition worse.

It will come at the most inconvenient times. When it happens, just please be patient and understanding with us. The attack will eventually pass, and when it does, we'll be back to normal. The worst thing you could do is bring up anything we were previously worried about.

Doing so will only trigger another attack. Understand that it's you and us vs. the illness. We hate it, you hate it, we're on the same team here. The best thing you can do during an attack is to just listen, and know that there are times we need you to hold us, and times we need you to leave us alone. Know that sometimes you'll be the trigger for the attack.

Don't take it personally. And please, for the sake of humanity, don't tell us that we're overreacting, that we need to calm down, or that worrying isn't going to make anything any better. If we could stop worrying, don't you think we would have already?

Dating someone with an anxiety disorder isn't easy, at all. It requires giving that person a lot of attention that you normally wouldn't have to do. That doesn't mean the sufferer constantly needs you to be stuck up his or her butt 24/7, but it does mean that when he or she is under attack you need to be there.

If someone you love is having an anxiety attack, ask them what they need. Most of the time they know what they need from you to help make it better, but they're too scared to tell you. Let them know that you genuinely want to help in any way that you can, and be okay with it if they tell you nothing and to just listen. Get to know their illness better.

Everyone's anxiety disorder is different.

Try to understand what it's like to have absolutely no control over your mind, and be there for that person. They need you most when they feel as though they have turned on themselves.

If you or someone you know is battling an anxiety disorder, seek help.

Cover Image Credit: ankor2 / Flickr

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Taking Time For Yourself Is Nothing To Feel Guilty About, It's Healthy

Your emotional health should be your utmost priority — and you deserve to be in good emotional health.


Renowned Sōtō Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki once said that: "We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves." We've often been told the opposite, however. We've been told that our worth is dependent on what we can do for others and that our existence itself is meant for the advancement of society. There is no place within our culture to truly exist with ourselves. The parts of our culture that claim to value self-love and self-care tend to commodify it in the form of relaxation products and personal development products — albeit helpful at times but mostly meant to addict us without true benefit to our inner selves.

As a young student, I talked with an orthopedic surgeon — a very overworked, ambitious woman — who told me to learn how to make it in the long haul, whether in my personal, interpersonal, or career life. You had to learn to enjoy yourself and find inner peace along the way. Because there would come a time, she said, when I would become guilty to take time for myself and forget what it's like to really enjoy life. Unfortunately, I made it to that point — I worked and worked and worked until I finally burned myself out. That's when I had to make certain changes in my life to understand how I got to that point and where I needed to go from there.

In the midst of our grand ambitions, it's easy to either go all in or all out. Either to give your entire self to a certain end or give nothing at all. I've been very much guilty of ending up on both ends of the spectrum — I would either devote all my time to writing/school or hit a roadblock and give it all up for a while. It felt like the value of my life was predicated on success, whatever that meant, in terms of contributing more and more and achieving more and more. It's never, ever enough, however. No matter what you achieve, there will always be a million more things on your to-do list. Whatever you triumph over, there will always be a million more roadblocks in your path.

The answer for me was to learn how to exist with myself, how to exist with other people, how to exist amidst all the dreams I had for the future, but also in the present moment where all my past dreams had come to fruition. Sometimes I would dive too deep into myself, and lose myself in thought, as noted in Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," "Sometimes people use thought to not participate in life." But I learned to participate fully, each moment to moment not necessarily enjoyable, but I find enjoyable moments each day with my friends, dog, boyfriend, and myself alone with a book or a pen.

Oftentimes as a crisis counselor, I am asked the questions: What's the point? Why am I here? What is there to look forward to? It's hard for me to precisely answer that question because, frankly, no one has anyone answer. But here's an answer that I believe in, born of taking time for ourselves: we live to feel the hope for happiness again. We live for the moments of joy, contentment, relaxation, excitement, pleasure, love, happiness, everything. We live to experience and to find each other. We live on because each new moment brings a surprise. There are many, many good moments in the future for all of us, even amongst the bad.

It's impossible to really experience life, however, if we're unable to take time to ourselves. That's one of my greatest fears, actually, that life will pass me by and I won't be able to experience each day as a full and complete miracle. There's something lost when everyone else gains from commodifying all aspects of our lives. Are you going to keep living for everyone else, or will you learn to exist for yourself? Do you owe the world your entire self, or can you take back at least some of yourself right now? Is it selfish to feel happy and not only to suffer?

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