By Maryalene LaPonsie
Good health. We all want it, and yet it seems so out of reach for many of us. We have other obligations, other priorities.
We tell ourselves we shouldn’t pause our day for a nap or a walk when we have children vying for our attention or work that needs to be done. Buying healthy foods seems like an excessive luxury when we could be putting money away for soccer camp or helping elderly parents with their bills.
Spending time and money on ourselves can feel selfish. When others are relying on us, who are we to say ‘not now’ and take care of our own needs instead?
However, feeling guilty about taking care of your health is neither wise nor productive. We’ve all heard the analogy based on airplane safety instructions. The one that tells of the importance of putting on your own oxygen mask first so you are then able to help those around you.
That’s certainly true. If you don’t take care of your own health, you can’t be a good mother, worker and friend to others. But there’s more to it than that.
Let’s consider the real reason you should embrace good health without guilt:
You Deserve It.
That’s right. You don’t get to be healthy and whole simply so you can serve others. You get to be healthy and whole because you are a unique individual who deserves to achieve your own potential.
You need to let go of the idea that your value only comes from what you can offer to others. Your value comes from who you are inside.
That means you deserve to have all of the following.
Even if you’re alone in your house, that doesn’t mean you have to live off microwave dinners and processed food. You deserve to have a hot home-cooked meal. Or if cooking seems overwhelming right now, you deserve to buy the highest quality, freshest take-out you can afford.
A gym membership can seem extravagant, but it isn’t if you use it. Working out can seem like a waste of time that could be used for more “productive” things, but no time could be better spent if it makes you stronger and more confident.
Regardless of what has happened in the past, you deserve to have the best life possible right now. That may mean closing the computer and reading a book or watching a favorite show on Netflix, meeting up with friends for coffee or finally signing up for that art class you’ve been eyeing.
Embrace the idea that you deserve to reach your potential. You deserve to have a strong body, a sharp mind and a vibrant spirit. Don’t let anyone guilt you into thinking otherwise.
About the Author
Maryalene LaPonsie is a personal finance writer, mother of five and keeper of memories for her late husband. She is a regular contributor to U.S. News & World Report, and her work has been featured on MoneyTalksNews, MSN, CBS News and elsewhere on the web. You can visit her personal website The Mighty Widow or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook.