Why self-care for small-business owners isn’t selfish

“Don’t come home” was the text I received from my wife Allison when it looked highly likely that my home state, Victoria, would go into what was called a circuit-breaker lockdown 4.0 in late May.

I did take the opportunity to clarify that it wasn’t a permanent directive, however, I was due to travel back from New South Wales to Victoria, and then the week after head to South Australia to start some work with a new Melbourne based client at a leadership offsite.

That was all now cancelled due to border closures.

What was I to do then?

It didn’t take long to decide to embrace the notion of self-care, and make a call to head to what I refer to as one of my happy places – The Elysia Wellness Retreat at Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley, NSW.

It’s a place that I have been attending for seven years now as what I refer to as my chance to practice the 4R’s:

Reflect, Relax, Recharge and Reset – all critical components of self-care.

Should I feel selfish that while my family, friends and fellow Victorians were locked in their houses, and I was free to undertake vigorous tailored exercise, daily stretching, meditation, relaxing massages, have my face read, learn about my past and future through astrology, spend time going between the sauna and outside pool for some hot-cold therapy, eat delicious food, sleep for up to nine hours per night and observe the most amazing sunrises and sunsets across the Hunter Valley?

My simple answer is “NO”.

What a selfish person you might say.

You have every right to say that, however, before you attack, think about the importance right now of the need for more self-care in times where there is enormous stress in these very unpredictable times.

I’m experiencing more and moreover the past few months a real conflict arising in humans who own or manage small businesses around the concept of being selfish, and it has to stop. 

Why is there a level of guilt that we humans carry at times when we are not being selfish, but rather treating ourselves to some self-care?

How can we even start to fill the cup of others if ours is forever empty?

What good are we to ourselves or others who rely on us to be teetering on the edge of burnout?

I’m a huge believer that in order to turn up and be your very best for others, you must first ensure that you are being the very best towards yourself. If this involves some time out, then drop the guilt trip and pay attention to the language that you are using.

I wonder if we changed the word selfish to self-‘ish’ or even better self-care then we would give ourselves permission to practice the 4R’s rather than get the guilts on?

When did you last confuse selfishness with self-care?

Remember you are going to struggle to fill the cup of another human being if yours is empty to start with. How empty or full is your cup right now?