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By CysterWigs Contributor

It is okay if you’re tired and stressed.

No, it doesn’t make you weak. It only means you’re human just like everyone else. In a society that tells us to hide our vulnerability, some of us try to put on a brave face even when we’re desperately in need of a break. Life is hard enough as it is. There’s no need to wreck our health in the process. That’s why self-care isn’t just important–it’s essential. And making self-care a priority is not a sin. It’s very necessary.

It’s easy for society to label self-care as selfishness or self-conceitedness. I disagree with this belief because it doesn’t make any sense. Selfishness and self-care are two different things. I like to think that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. This might sound like one of those Pinterest quotes that should not be taken seriously. However, it is true. You can’t give your all to everyone and everything and not have anything left to give to yourself. It makes perfect sense that in order to give love to anyone – your family, your partner, your colleagues, or even your dog – you need to have some love for yourself. If you’re all tapped out, you won’t be any good to yourself or anyone else.

Many of us might talk about self-care, but how do we actually work towards it?

It’s important to give yourself a little timeout. During this time, say to yourself, “I too deserve some rest. I too deserve a little bit of care.” Make it your mantra if you need to. In order for self-care to become a permanent part of your routine, you have to be able to accept that taking time out for yourself is normal and totally acceptable. There’s no better feeling in the world than when you pamper yourself. It always feels good when you can do something just for you and fully enjoy it. Why? Because you know that you deserve it. You work long hours during the week just to make ends meet, or you take care of those around you and you’re feeling guilty about taking a break? Why?!?

Don’t feel guilty. You deserve all the care in the world.

To take self-care seriously, you have to say “no” to anything that is harmful to your physical health and your mental health, too. Our sanity is important and we often forget that. Start learning to say no to the things that do not matter and you can focus more on the important things in life.

Another importance of practicing self-care is that it helps increase our self-esteem. Once you begin to take good care of your physical health and mental health, it will reflect in how you carry yourself. Remember, it’s not pride to know your worth as a person. You deserve love and to be treated with respect. That means you deserve these things from others–and you deserve these things from yourself as well.

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