We’ve all heard about self care, we’ve all shared the funny memes about spas and Starbucks being defined as “Self care.” But why has this phrase blown up on our society, and what does it mean? Self care is described as partaking in an activity that benefits physical and emotional health for oneself. These actions are an attempt to improve confidence, productivity, and promote creativity.

This can be really beneficial, but unfortunately many believe that self care is selfish and self centered. This due to many not understanding quite what self care is. Self care isn’t about serving yourself, but instead empowering yourself to take care of you and those around you.

Self care isn’t necessarily one time indulgences, but instead rituals that slowly improve one’s self. Meditation, setting goals, or reflecting positively on yourself are examples of easy self care rituals.

You should never feel guilt over taking care of yourself. Many will say that self care is earned, but instead it is deserved. It’s required. Just like washing your clothes or brushing your teeth, it’s simply self maintenance and cleaning in a way. The guilt of these actions come from our society’s belief that selflessness mean constantly serving others and not yourself, especially when it comes to time and money. This belief isn’t bad or wrong, just slightly misguided. Because in reality, you cannot help others if you are not caring for yourself!

Guilt is a normal, human reaction that some may attach to self care. But the benefits of self care will benefit those around you. Not only can you more easily achieve your goals, but it enables you to be a better employee, parent, friend, lover, or citizen in general. As long as self care doesn’t slip into overindulgence, the benefits of this practice will have impact in all aspects of your life.

So what is proper self care?  It is all about balance. Caring for yourself and giving yourself a break to relieve pressure from daily burdens. This will enable you to reach your goals and achieve your dreams in a fast and healthy manner. The best way to go about this is by learning your body, and being in tune with it. This helps you understand what it wants and needs, and knowing when to provide it with those things.

The next step is to also make a list of the things you want to change or improve. Things like wanting a healthy boost in energy, more confidence, or stronger motivation. Take note of all of it, so that you can physically read what you need to work towards.

Give yourself the room to grow. Some of these achievements will take a lot of time and work, and that’s okay. Constructing a plan for these goals will help you stay on track and keep working hard for yourself. Because the things you want to improve can help you be a strong role model for those around you, as well as empower them to help themselves.

Investing in yourself may be the hardest step in your self care journey. Many times money spent on oneself is seen as self indulgence. But in actuality investing in things like a gym membership or therapy is just like buying food. It’s necessary to live! The biggest investment you can make in yourself however is time. Time is the greatest commodity everyone has. You get to choose what you invest in, and investing in yourself is important. Taking time for a skin care routine, working out, or meditation can be the key to your self care journey. Instead of spending your time on TV or social media, you can instead invest in self improvement.

It’s important to remember that self care isn’t selfish, and there isn’t a reason to feel guilty over it. Our feelings control our actions, and self management is crucial to a long and happy life. Never feel bad about working towards the best version of yourself.