When I wrote about it I guess I was in a place of wanting to share how I had managed to find a way forward – how I had put myself first in order to achieve the changes I desperately wanted to make. And it worked. But then I think that I started giving too much of myself – spreading myself too thinly (thinly…the irony!) – and then when I started working full time and office based again rather than picking and choosing what I was doing and when I wanted to do it…well, we know what happened. My binge-eating came back.
So here I am. Heavier than this time last year – much heavier. However I am feeling much better – like a more productive member of society with my lovely job and all that!
But it’s time to kick arse and get selfish – so I am going to remind myself of what I wrote…
I’m not suggesting that you forget to cook and clean, or that you leave the kids to fend for themselves, or tell your friends to stop moaning, or that you leave your partner and head off on a voyage of self-discovery; what I am suggesting is a little selfishness – or self-interest! Moderation and balance, as with all things, is the key here.
A quick google search about selfish slimmers reveals a number of blogs all using the same analogy…so why should I do any differently?! For those of you that have been on a plane, try and think back to the safety demonstration. Do you remember being told that, in the event of an emergency, you must put on your own oxygen mask before assisting anyone else? It’s true, they do tell you this, and it’s for a very good reason – how the hell are you supposed to help your loved ones, or anyone else for that matter, if you are struggling yourself…or dead?! The same goes for road accidents; you are taught to ensure your own safety before going to assist others. Is this selfishness? Of course it’s bloody not, it’s sane and sensible advice!
So why do we run around like crazy things, doing stuff for everyone else and putting our own needs behind those of others? Part of this stems from wanting to be accepted, and to be accepted we feel that we have to be ‘nice’ and say ‘yes’ when we are asked to do things. “Could you just come and sit with the kids?”…of course! “Can you please give me a lift to my works Christmas party as I don’t want to drink and drive?”…of course, how can I say ‘No’?! “Can we have the party at your house as your lounge is bigger than mine?”…of course…and I’ll do all of the pre and post cleaning too! But agreeing to do things for others, without taking any time out for yourself, can lead to you feeling that your life isn’t your own. This is detrimental in more ways than one – Marianne Legato, author of Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget, says, “If you never have any time except reactive time — things you must do for others — you don’t have a sense of control. You are interrupted all the time. Your brain has trouble resting even during sleep. Such chronic exhaustion increases the release of stress hormones, and your blood sugar rises.” So it not only begins to grind you down and annoy you, but it takes it’s toll on your health too!
Taking care of yourself is not selfish, nor is doing something purely for your own benefit. In fact, when you take a closer look at it, investing in yourself by taking some ‘me time’ is ultimately going to benefit those around you too. You will find that as your happiness increases, those around you will see that too and – hopefully, unless they are arses – will be happy for you. Perhaps they will learn a little self-sufficiency in the process too! When I first met my other half he didn’t know how to iron, how to use a washing machine, how to cook anything more complex than beans on toast…in fact he even admitted to me that he couldn’t tie shoelaces up properly until he was thirteen!! I blame his lovely mother; she ran around after the four of them and attended to their every need. I remember how shocked she was when I told her that he could take his own cup back into the kitchen – she was once again cleaning up after him – and that he even ironed his own clothes now…I don’t know if she was impressed, or thought that I was cruel – and selfish!
My point is that you taking a little time out for yourself every now and again might make your family appreciate your efforts; it might make them show this appreciation more often, and it might even motivate them into doing something for themselves too. And being selfish comes easily to us Brits apparently; the Daily Mail reported that 7 out of 10 of us admit to being selfish after 4,000 individuals took part in a study commissioned to mark National Volunteer Week. They also gave their opinion as to what people feel are acts of selfishness…I couldn’t spot ‘taking time out to improve my health and well-being’ anywhere on that list. It’s not as if I’m asking you to pop a child’s balloon with a pin, or to stamp on an ant! I am just strongly suggesting that you become a little selfish and learn to develop your ‘self-care’.
Perhaps some of the following points might help with this…
- It is not okay to ignore my needs.
- I do not need to satisfy everyone I come in contact with each and every time.
- Making time for myself, and ‘booking’ this time in, is crucial to my success.
- Looking after myself means that I can look after others in a more productive way.
- I need sleep in order to rest and recuperate and to feel happy and healthy.
- The body I have is the only one I will ever get, and it deserves to be taken care of and invested in.
- My body deserves to be treated with kindness – with healthy food, exercise and rest.
- Exercise is fun and releases feel-good chemicals.
- Increasing my self-care will increase my self awareness.
- Taking care of myself sets a good example for my family and friends.
- My feelings are my responsibility – and other people’s feeling are their responsibility.
- I am no use to anyone if I am ill, stressed out, tired and unhappy.
Taking 30 minutes each day for yourself, if you can, will pay dividends in the long run. Have a spa evening each week – light some candles, have a soak in the bath, slap a face mask on, moisturise, do your nails! Try downloading a meditation app and dedicate some time to learning how to clear your mind and relax. Try a new exercise DVD, or stick on your favourite songs and dance around like a loon! Have an evening dedicated to reading a few chapters of that book you’ve been meaning to read – no TV, Internet or phone to disturb you. Take an online course – there are loads of them! It goes without saying that taking some time to plan your healthy week ahead is also a worthwhile activity…meal planning, activity planning…finding time to plan might mean that you can work out how to grab some extra you time by being organised!
Despite the valid points I’ve made, I bet you are still thinking that you will feel guilty if you get a little selfish. This is down to our childhood programming…as children we are taught that being selfish is not a good thing, so making decisions with our own self-interest at heart as adults leaves us feeling bad.
However, research carried out by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania showed that being selfish really does make us happier, so long as we lose the feelings of guilt. So keep looking at all of those reasons I’ve given you – or make a list of your own – and enjoy revelling in your selfishness!
On that note I am off – I will blog as and when I can – but please remember that I am being selfish now – haha!
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx