Learning how to take care of ourselves is actually an aspect of learning to love ourselves. We often feel guilty about paying attention to our own wellbeing. We don't think about how this benefits everyone. However, our culture, with all its demands on our time and energy makes self care a challenge.
I once heard a teacher talking about meditation to new students. He said, "It's good to meditate about a half hour every day, but if you're really busy, meditate for one hour." We all laughed, because, although he surprised us with his conclusion, we knew he was right. Rather than taking time from our other activities, meditation, yoga and similar practices give us more energy and focus and allow us to handle our responsibilities and demands in an economical way. These practices lift the confusion that we can experience when we are stressed; they clear the mind and make our efforts more productive, our decision making more natural and intuitive. A lot of energy and time are wasted when we are stressed and confused. I found this especially true while taking care of my daughter when she was young. Because I meditated before she got up in the morning, I was able to be more available to her instead of being focused on my own unmet needs.
Of course there are many other ways of taking care of ourselves: diet, exercise, positive thinking, vacations, creative time, reading, taking courses, to name a few. I wonder what our feline friend in red is learning about taking care of himself. Any ideas?