It is quite too common for me to get a text from family or friends asking to hang out during the weekend. Usually, it’s in the middle of a busy week – whether from work or other commitments – and a weekend filled with Netflix while working on a crocheting project is pretty much the only thing that is getting me through it. However, time and time again, I feel guilty about just wanting to chill. So, I either say yes, and go even though I am exhausted. Other times, I am honest with them by saying that no, I’m exhausted.
Sometimes, people are understanding about it. Other times, not so much.
Now, I understand that having a social life is really important. I also get that sometimes, you have times where you’re doing a ton of social engagements because it’s a certain time of year (i.e. the holidays), someone is in town that isn’t normally, or even just it’s someone’s birthday.
That said, I also think that before we can do things for others, we do need to have it start at home. Yes, that means self-care.
I personally think that the importance of self-care needs to be more normalized. I’ve had conversations with friends about the fact that they feel awful rejecting a social engagement because they need some time to themselves, whatever that may be. Newsflash – no one should get upset with you for saying no to a social plan because you just need a night. I mean, if you hurt your leg, would you be expected to be going out to drinks instead of icing it or getting an X-Ray to make sure that it’s taken care of?
I don’t think so.
Furthermore, I would much rather be upfront with someone if I am feeling overwhelmed and need a night, versus making plans and cancel them last minute. I think that shows a lot more respect for the person and their time.
However, that said, I do think that the person on the other end of the conversation needs to show respect as well. For example, if a friend says that they are unable to make plans because they need a night to just slow down and practice whatever self-care they need, then that needs to be respected – not met with “well, can you do it another night?” or “well, I really want/need to do this and it’s been a while since I saw you so . . .”
I am going to be honest here. I am the type of person who needs a few minutes to recollect myself. I guess that is the Cancer in me. That said, I sometimes get overwhelmed whenever my social calendar gets too full.
While I recognize that I am the type of person who gets overwhelmed when my calendar way too easily, I am also the type of person who can feel guilty for disappointing someone as well.
However, I want to make this clear. It’s not as if I don’t want to socialize with someone. It’s just that I need a night to myself.
What I’ve been doing to help create a healthy balance is to try to have one or two social engagements per week. That way, I can pencil time in for myself, but also try to make sure that I see my friends and family. I think that it’s really important to implement both sides of the coin – that way, you are being fair to both sides.
And, even though that I am creating this balance, I want to be clear. I still feel guilty about it, because I feel like I am letting the people in my life down. However, I have learned that lets me know. As much as I care about spending time with my loved ones, it is also important to me to ensure that I am taken care of – whatever that means.
Overall, I want to conclude with this statement that has been my rock for the past year: self care is not selfish. It is okay to take the time you need to take care of you. And, it is okay to say no to a night out because you need a night of self-care.
Now, if you can get rid of the guilt that comes with this, that would be great.