Self-Care Isn’t Selfish—It’s Selfless

by Marion Grobb Finkelstein | Workplace Communication Consultant


You communicate what you value by how you spend your resources. So, let me ask you this, and I want you to really think about it and answer honestly—are you spending enough of your resources on yourself? In other words, are you showing the world that you value you and that you are valuable? If you answered in the affirmative, bravo! You deserve it. I encourage you to keep it up.

On the other hand, are you playing the victim? Do you give until you bleed and put yourself into painful situations that have no chance of improving? Do you think self-sacrifice and the pain it inflicts on you is an expression of love? No, not at all. You don’t have to hurt yourself to show you care for someone else.

Self-Care Means You Have More to Give Others

As an admin, you spend your days helping others. Make sure that you leave enough in your proverbial cup to help yourself.  If you find yourself complaining constantly to colleagues, you may be operating on empty. You could be setting yourself up for headaches, sorrow and unspeakable stress. In addition to the price you will pay, others will pay as well because you and your problems become a burden to them and that’s not fair to anyone.

Conversely, self-care ensures that your cup is brimming to the point of overflowing–so much so, you can not only quench your thirst, you can also readily fill the cup of others. Don’t give to the point of irreparable damage. Don’t give until it hurts. Just give until it feels good.

Self-Care is Good for Your Health

There is a field of mounting research suggesting a link between chronic illness and the inability to productively express your own needs. Interestingly, in his 2012 book, When the Body Says No (The Cost of Hidden Stress)[1], Canadian medical doctor, Gabor Mate, cites many studies indicating a relationship between unexpressed emotions of anger and resentment, even if they are subconscious, being a trigger for chronic illnesses such as cancer, and immunology disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. After sometimes a lifetime of ignoring signals and getting mixed messages that you don’t count, your body finally responds and starts attacking itself. In these moments, you pay for the chronic stress your lack of self-care has dished out for years.

Good Intentions May Turn to Resentment

How many times have you seen people, perhaps yourself, give so much they’re now suffering horribly. Or the people they gave to are ungrateful and show no sign of reciprocity. The good acts are all but forgotten and the good deed doers are left to wallow in their self-created misery. What started as giving can turn to resentment.

The message is clear. Speak your truth, draw boundaries and get yourself on the agenda. Do it to help yourself. Do it to grow others. Do it for the health of it.

IAAP works with the best trainers in the industry to ensure you have relevant, engaging, practical content at your fingertips. This blog is written by a speaker with a program in the IAAP Approved Programs database. Search by name or keyword to find their contact information and book them for your Branch or Region event.

[1] Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No (The Cost of Hidden Stress), Big Happy Family, LLC, Post Hypnotic Press Inc., April 2012

This article is based on a book Marion Grobb Finkelstein, Workplace Communication Consultant, is currently drafting called The Finkelstein Factor (What to Do When Things Go Wrong … Because You Know They Will). Marion will help your team communicate authentically with each other, clients, bosses and employees. OPT-IN to Marion’s Workplace Communication Tips e-news at Contact Marion for your next training session or conference 289.969.7691


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