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Responsibility versus Self-Care

How often do you face the decision to continue going through your to-do list or take a break and practice self-care? How often does self-care lose to the need to be responsible?

For me, this has been coming up almost daily because life has gotten quite hectic, primarily with work. With so much to do, who has time to meditate or eat well or exercise or make space for something that nourishes your spirit?

But when I think about it – when I let myself take time to think about it – I realize this is a false question. It implies an either/or dichotomy that isn’t true.

With a black and white view, you can either be responsible and do what you’re supposed to, or you blow it all off and do only what you want. If this sounds familiar, it could be because this mirrors diet mentality, the choice between eating what you “should” or going out of control with what you really want.

But in reality, if you do the responsible thing all the time, it actually isn’t responsible, because eventually you’ll get so tired of being “good” all the time that you’ll stop doing things as well. Or at least, I know that’s true for me. I’ll grow sullen, annoyed with what I have to do, and the work will suffer for it.

If, on the other hand, I let myself have some time outs, take care of myself and my other needs, I am able to fulfill my responsibilities more consistently. I will also be able to find some enjoyment in it, even if only the pleasure of doing the job well, and if I work with others, they will surely notice the difference as well. Just as by eating the occasional sweet, I appreciate both the sweetness and the more savory foods more.

It isn’t always easy, but this is what I’m trying to remember, that I can make the choice of self-care and responsibility one of balance, rather than all or nothing.

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