When should you be ‘selfish’ to focus on self-care?

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If you ever felt guilty for saying “no” to a dinner out with colleagues, or choosing to stay home rather than hanging out with your friends on a weekend because it sounds selfish, maybe you should stop thinking that way.

You see, sometimes, being selfish is okay.

If being selfish means prioritizing yourself and your own well-being — both physically and mentally, then, it’s fine to be selfish.

If self-care is selfish, then so be it; a copy editor, who advocates mental health awareness, said.

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“Saying no feels like a failure, like you’re incompetent or unequipped to handle day-to-day life. But if staying in helps you prioritize yourself and your owhn energy and healing, are you really being selfish?” Jaimie Elmer wrote in Healthline.

Elmer said although “selfish” have been defined as being concerned with only your own personal pleasure and profit, “we still think of selfish as the times when we’re simply putting ourselves first.”

“Just like all things, there’s a spectrum. Sometimes the right thing is to be “selfish.” And just because someone defines something you’ve done as selfish (like opting out of their party), doesn’t mean you have to define it on their terms,” Elmer underscored.

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“So, repeat after me: I won’t beat myself up for being ‘selfish’,” she continued.

She explained that there are times when being selfish is the right thing to do because there are also times that taking care of yourself is necessary.

On her write up, Elmer listed some instances when somebody badly needs to finally be “selfish.”

When you’re feeling tired, whether mentally, emotionally, or physically, and you need to rest, then rest, sleep, and rejuvenate

“If you’ve been working late and skipping sleep, it’s time to find some work-life balance. And the next time you choose to go home and sleep instead of grabbing drinks with friends, that’s OK. If that’s called selfish, it’s the kind you want to be,” Elmer reiterated.

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When you need time to be alone

If staying home alone after declining a night out with friends and “that’s what you’re in the mood to do, don’t feel selfish for wanting to be alone.”

“We all need alone time sometimes, and some people need more than others. Social interactions can be exhausting for some people. There’s no shame in taking time for yourself,” Elmer said

When it’s time to end a relationship, leave a job, or living situation

“It’s never easy breaking up with a significant other, moving to a new city, or quitting a job. If you feel bad when you interact with someone or dread encountering them again, it’s time to rethink your relationship,” Elmer said.

She added “if it’s not self-sustaining to continue a relationship or job or anything that no longer makes you happy, if something is affecting your well-being, it might be time to say goodbye.”