Yes, you read that right. Being selfish when you need to be is okay–but when is being selfish considered “needed”? Surprisingly enough, more often than you’d think. I’m not talking about being selfish in terms of how we teach children not to be selfish, I’m talking about being selfish with our time and energy. Obviously, yes, it’s good to share, and yes, it’s good to help/assist others whenever you can. But this is our mental health we’re talking about. We all know how precious a sound and peaceful mind is, so let’s make sure we protect it at all costs.
Now, back to the original question…
When Being Selfish is Needed
- When you need to rest. Whether you’re physically, emotionally, or mentally beat, resting is sometimes one of the quickest jump-starts to getting back to feeling like yourself. Rest is essential to recovery. This can look like actually sleeping, taking a mental health day, or creating a “hard-stop” between work and life. When you don’t give yourself time to rest, your immune system, focus, and memory retention can actually decline. This leaves a greater opportunity for accidents and mistakes to happen. It also increases your risk of burnout where you can become exhausted, unmotivated, and even physically ill.
- When you need help. A lot of people are afraid or embarrassed when it comes to asking for help. But why would you not ask for help if it means keeping stress levels bearable? Is it because we think asking for help makes up seem needy? Not smart enough? Or weak? Luckily, asking for help doesn’t mean any of those negative things. It means that we know our limits and we’re not going to spread ourselves too thin.
- When you need something to come to an end. Think about this one in terms of relationships, jobs, living situations, or any life situation. It’s important to not be impulsive with decisions revolving around these situations, however, you also need to keep in mind that you have the choice and the power to stay or leave. If the “give” doesn’t match the “take”, it might be time to reevaluate the circumstance. For example, if you give your job all of your efforts, but it leaves you exhausted and your boss doesn’t treat you well, it might be time to leave.
- When you need a break. Feeling like you need to “hit pause” could be a good sign that you’re in the early stages of burnout. To stop burnout in its tracks, take a break. Odds are, you’re going to need more than a day to recoup, so prioritize a weekend to take care of yourself. Sleep in, read, make your favorite meal, watch movies; do whatever makes you feel relaxed, grounded, and rejuvenated.
So if it wasn’t clear, burnout seems to be a common trend. Being selfish during moments that matter can remove burnout from the situation entirely. You have to know your limits and be in tune with your mind and body to understand when you need to be selfish. Everyone’s limits are different, as we all have strengths and weaknesses. All in all, prioritize yourself and your mental health.
Written by GUADS staff member Toni