But, why do we feel so guilty?

If you are anything like me, you feel like you should be working right now. Maybe you are hiding in the bathroom at work, reading this on your phone. Maybe you are at home, procrastinating cooking dinner, cleaning the living room, or returning emails.

Why are we feeling guilty? Why can’t we just sit and be? Americans, unfortunately are notorious for this. We work 40+ hours a week, are expected to be available by email or phone 24/7, and get two paid weeks off a year. Our culture celebrates the person who never takes a day off and the person who answers emails on vacation.

Last week I took a day. My Aunt passed away and after the emotional day of saying goodbye to my Aunt and seeing family I haven’t seen in about 10 years, I decided to take the day after the funeral off. I went to my favorite deli for hand made bagels and watched Animal Planet. I needed a fill up, I was on empty. There is nothing wrong with what I did. Company policy says I have three bereavement days, I took two. Yet, I still felt guilty.

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brown

When our body tells us to rest, we need to listen to it. If we don’t, we get sick more often, make poor decisions, and express irritability towards co-workers and family members.

How do we relax?

  • Remember and give yourself credit for everything you do (at work, for your family, for your dog, for your household). You deserve it
  • Cover Your Ass: I’m not telling you to call out sick once a week or leave early everyday, make sure you are taking days off responsibly
  • Carve out time. Use your holidays for self care time. Is Columbus Day at your brother’s house important? If it is and you will have a blast, fine go. If it is not… don’t go
  • If you can’t take a full day, at least take a full hour, or even a minute. Take a moment to close your office door and breathe
  • No multitasking: Take a day when you are not allowed to do more than one thing at a time. When was the last time you just cooked supper or just watched a TV show? I am typing this, while talking with my husband, watching football, and snuggling with my cat. If you are going to snuggle your cat, just snuggle your cat, then move on to the next

What are some ways you take a day or time for mental and physical self care?


Published by psychkatlife

Katherine Carter is a licensed mental health counselor practicing in Massachusetts. Katherine is the former Director of a residential program for women working towards recovery from drugs and alcohol. Katherine is currently working in private practice assisting individuals, couples and families meet their goals. Katherine's clinical interests include Addiction, Empowerment, LGBTQ and gender issues, mindfulness and chronic illness.

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