Is Self-Care Selfish?

I used to think that “self-care” was the equivalent of being self-ish. I believed that by constantly doing, achieving, creating + giving to everybody and everything around me or that I was involved in somehow made me good. I believed that the more productive I was, or the more things I could check off my to-do list in a day somehow contributed to my value and self-worth. And honestly, I kinda thought that self-care was for the self-indulgent. I mean…I had things to-do, places to be and accomplishments to achieve.

Fact: I couldn’t have been more wrong!

And if you don’t know my story you can read about it in my ebook which you can get here.

Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty:

Weight gain + Adrenal fatigue + A bunch of other stuff = Burn out

And the thing is I hear this same story from almost every one of my clients. They too believe that constantly pushing themselves to do more, achieve more, and be more is the fastest path to happiness and fulfillment. Yet we all know the saying that it’s not the destination that’s important but the journey that gets us there – in the game of life, nothing could be truer.

What finally made me really get this was thinking about how I trained for Ironman Canada and my basic approach to fitness. I want to be able to go further faster. I want to get stronger and leaner. And I love body science. It fascinates me. I love learning and understanding about how muscles breakdown, heal + repair and get stronger and/or grow.

And here’s what I know – it’s absolutely necessary to push yourself in the gym or on the track (or whatever type of exercise you do) – you have to go beyond your comfort zone in order to see change (it’s called the principle of progressive overload). But if you do that day after day after day without giving your body a chance to heal – those initial gains are diminished and in fact all you’re doing now is slowing down your progress and increasing the likelihood of injury. There’s not one professional athlete out there who doesn’t incorporate “rest” into their training regime – so why oh why would you push yourself 24/7 without including a little bit of rest & recovery? The concept of rest made sense to me and that’s when I made the link to self-care.

The whole concept of self-care can be foreign to some people and many of my clients don’t even know where to start. They might be good at some aspects of self-care but terrible at others. Here are some different examples of how you can begin to incorporate a bit of rest & recovery into your life:

  • Go to bed earlier. This is a huge way I see people sabotaging themselves. Especially moms. A busy mom loves the peace and silence in her house after the kids go to bed and I often hear that this is “me time” – time to be on the computer or watch TV or just “catch up on house stuff” – yet what they really need is sleep. I wrote more about it here
  • Move your body. It’s so easy to skip your workout when you’re busy but scheduling exercise into your to-do list can give you the mental break your mind needs and the physical challenge your body craves. It’s simply good to move – even if it’s just for 20 min. Try it.
  • Eat well. Organize your life such that you have healthy food in the fridge and that you’re taking the time to actually eat good food. Change the grab & go habit to one of being planned and prepared. Nourishing your body will always lead to positive things in your life.
  • Connect with positive people. Sometimes the best self-care is taking time to hang out with your friends and laugh.
  • Look after yourself. Whether that means scheduling a massage (and this one is on my list!), going to physio, seeing your chiropractor for an adjustment, booking an appointment at the dentist for a teeth cleaning, or finally scheduling that annual exam you’ve been dreading for 6 yrs.

Being proactive with your health is simply necessary. I’d love to hear more about what your ideas or actions around self-care are! Drop down into the comment box below and share away – sometimes hearing that meditating for 5 min every morning is working for someone else may mean you’ll be willing to try it too (there’s another idea!).

Click below to get my *free* ebook and learn five things you can start doing today to outsmart your fat cells and start losing weight.

By | 2017-10-01T07:47:43-07:00 June 10th, 2013|Uncategorized|17 Comments

About the Author:

Jennifer coaches busy, successful women with imperfect lives who want to look and feel amazing from the inside out. With her tried-and-proven weight loss method—ENERGY to Thrive™—Jennifer takes the fascinating science of physiological transformation and breaks it down into six empowering steps.


  1. Nikki Jackson June 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Oooh – I really believe in “Connect with positive people. Sometimes the best self-care is taking time to hang out with your friends and laugh.” Isn’t that so critical? I would have to eat bushels of fruits and veggies to equal the joy therapy that comes from keeping non-toxic company.

    • Jennifer Powter June 10, 2013 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      Oh Nikki, this one totally resonates with me too – energy is contagious! Thanks for commenting.

  2. Dana Goldstein June 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    This is really a great article. We often forget to take time for ourselves. It’s often hard to relax and think about self-care when you are running your own business.

    • Jennifer Powter June 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dana – So true yet I think this is how we can keep our stamina up to keep going! Appreciate you stopping by.

  3. Sylvia Daoust June 11, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Thanks for this great post! As I read your list of “self care” options, I realize I’m in need of some serious changes in my self care! OUCH! I move my body…because my job requires me to, and I hang out with positive people,,,but the rest…let;s just say I need to be reminded.

    • Jennifer Powter June 11, 2013 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Thanks Sylvia!!! It’s the little things I need to be reminded of too 🙂
      Great to *meet* you here.

  4. Laura Buckholz June 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    ‘Self Care’ I sing with you and try to guide many ladies daily to really fill their well being and be present with care that begins with them! It takes a commitment to eat well, exercise and look and feel fabulous but wow does it ever pay off.

    • Jennifer Powter June 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Laura,
      It totally pays off ~ completely agree!!! And the older I get the more all of those become important – eating well, exercising + wanting to look & feel fabulous!!

  5. Kim Page Gluckie June 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jennifer! I think I have the “positive people” one nailed! I hit a wall hard 3 years ago related to sleep — resulted in depression and weight gain. I have had about one full year of much better sleep and can now completely see a path to the rest of the points you make. I still need more sleep. And until I commit to that, I know the rest suffers. This is critical and this reminder is perfect timing for me!

    • Jennifer Powter June 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      Oh Kim – I so relate on the sleep side of things – I’m one of those moms who loves the quiet time at night and how I can “get so much done!” – many a time I would have been better off in bed fast asleep so I could be energized and productive the next day (not a caffeinated zombie!)

  6. J'Val Shuster June 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the reminder Jennifer! If we don’t look after our ‘selves’ – nobody else is going to….and without your health and wellbeing – the rest of life can’t really happen! Its a hard lesson to learn (and re-learn).

    • Jennifer Powter June 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Hi J’Val – love this point – for me it’s about committing and then re-committing! Always worth it ~ but sometimes self care is easy to sacrifice in the moment (for work..or kids…or fun..or…!).

  7. Nadine Nicholson June 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Jennifer, this is a great reminder. With summer coming, it’s the perfect time to take some time for ourselves; hiking a local trail, reading in the backyard, walking around the neighbourhood, meeting friends at a nearby coffee shop. I love to “move my body” and participate in an intense bootcamp a few times a week. Nothing clears my head better than getting my butt whipped into shape – lol!

    • Jennifer Powter June 16, 2013 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      Hiya Nadine,
      Totally hear you on the “moving your body” side of things ~ and you gave some great suggestions too!! I know scheduling these things into my calendar and being clear on my work boundaries helps me.

  8. Laurie McGowan June 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    I think I’m one of those Moms you talked about; I think self-care is working late into the evenings. Yikes. I have been using gardening time this year as a form of relaxation and fun. Meditation is something so interesting, but I have no idea what’s holding me back. Thank you for the reminders!

    • Jennifer Powter June 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      Hey Laurie,
      Thanks for commenting ~ meditating was weird for me at first too. I think I felt like it was one more thing “to-do” and that I had to devote a lot of time to it (like hours) and that I might not be good at it (ha!). But ohhhhh – it really helped me.

  9. Tanya Hartz June 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful post Jennifer! I greatly appreciate the affirmation, “Move your Body..” For some reason I find little time to move at the end of the day… I stand all day working, carry on with laundry, housework, dinner, in the evenings.. I know I’m moving but its not for me – I broke my ankle 2 years ago and I can feel the stiffness prevail when I sit. I miss my relationship with Yoga, walking and taking the air in. I definitely need some balance here, thank you for the nudge!

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