20 Self-Care Strategies You Never Have To Apologize For


Women apologize a lot. It's science; a study in 2010 found that women apologize a lot more than men, because they feel that they do a greater amount of things "wrong" and experience the need to say sorry for them. If you've noticed that this applies to your life, it's time to take back "Sorry" and reserve it for the times when it's really needed — when you've called someone by the wrong name, or broken a friend's new phone. When it comes to issues that pertain to self-care, like asserting boundaries, taking time for yourself and actually focusing on your health as a person, feeling apologetic is not only unnecessary, it also holds us back. If you're apologizing for taking up space and being a human adult with needs, it's time to stop.

Sometimes we need to take action to care for ourselves, avoid burnout, be healthy, make good choices, and generally be responsible for our own wellbeing. These are not priorities that should make anyone feel ashamed or apologetic. They're necessary and fundamental, particularly in a world where just existing is hard enough. Self-care is not an excuse to refuse obligations to others, but it's also not a thing you should apologize for. Here are 20 things to do in the name of self-care that you never need to say sorry for.


Saying "I Can't"

Saying no can be difficult, especially if you're used to being accommodating or helping people out. If something just point-blank isn't possible, you shouldn't feel like you have to apologize constantly for the fact that you're saying "nope".


Sitting Down

You're damn tired. Take a seat. Life is tricky, and wanting to rest rather than power through pain or exhaustion isn't a sign that you're 'weak'; it's self-care.


Taking Up Space

You should never have to say 'sorry' for taking up physical space with your body, or emotional space with your needs. It's your right to occupy space in the world.


Not Going Out

Sometimes you just want to stay in and do something at home, rather than "having the experience of a lifetime" at some club or other. It's OK if your friends are disappointed, but your choice is your choice.


Reinforcing A Boundary

You said no, and they kept pushing, and now you have to say no again. It's hard to reinforce emotional boundaries, which keep our sense of self intact and prevent others from over-reaching or taking advantage, but it's worthwhile behavior and you can definitely feel proud of it.


Asserting A New Boundary

Sometimes, having to say no for the first time — to a friend, a parent, or a partner — and put a line in the sand about particular behavior can feel terrifying and shameful. Aren't you being a bad partner/child/mate? Nope. Boundaries are healthy and you're sorry not sorry.


Saving Money

Financial self-care is an under-appreciated aspect of self-care. There's no need to be apologetic because you want to make sure you're OK for rent this month, or don't want to go to that bachelorette's weekend.


Expecting Fair Treatment

File this under "being told not to stand up for yourself." Being assertive about inequality when it comes to work, pay, or just being skipped over in the line for coffee in the mornings can induce cringes, but it's good self-care to value yourself as an equal to those around you.


Prioritizing Your Obligations

You cannot be everywhere all the time. Good self-care can mean prioritizing emergencies and Big Deals over less urgent issues, even if that's inconvenient for others. You are only one person and that's OK.


Getting Rid Of Toxic People

If you decide to sever ties with somebody who's been making your life hellish, other people may want you to apologize to them for "making things awkward" or "creating a fuss." You don't have to. You're better off without the toxic person around.


Scheduling Alone Time

Alone time can feel like a rejection for others, particularly if you're in a relationship or have a close-knit group of friends. However, it's healthy to make time for yourself and your own needs every now and again.


Needing Your Friends

The flip side: while we may romanticize staying at home with Netflix, sometimes you just need to hear a friendly voice or have endless Facetime chats. That's OK. You're not needy; you're human and need social connection. Just be mindful when the other person on the end of the FaceTime needs their alone time, too.


Asking For Better Support At Work

If you feel apologetic about struggling at work, whether it's with a bad work-life balance, over-scheduling or tasks you're finding really difficult, it's OK.



Part of self-care is using your time efficiently, without you having to take on undue stress. Is there something on your to-do list that should be handled by a coworker, or your partner, or your sibling? Hand it off to them — just be mindful that they might later ask the same of you.


Being "Bossy"

Beyoncé said it best: "I'm not bossy. I'm the boss." If you're in charge and need to make things happen, apologies about being assertive and having expectations of others aren't necessary.


Changing And Growing

Making new habits? Leaving old friends and stomping grounds behind? Naturally evolving into a different person? Not something to apologize for. It happens; you're not the same person you were ten years ago, or even one year ago (and typically, that's a good thing).


Being Satisfied

Things are working out for you? You're happy where you are and don't want things to change any time soon? No need to apologize for that to people who might want you to do, or want, other things. It's your life.


Being Ambitious

If you're dying to climb the career ladder, make something else out of your life, fulfill dreams or grind 24-7, don't let anybody spoil your drive. Your ambition is powerful, so make it happen.


Taking A Time-Out

While there can be pressure to resolve things immediately — a conflict with a friend, a job offer, a marriage proposal — it's actually OK to ask for some thinking time to consider your position and get your emotions in order.


Doing Work On Yourself

Actively demanding new things of yourself through new practices and habits is a good thing. Taking the time to do therapy, get exercise, practice self-reflection, and deal with your past means you're being an adult about your life and needs. No apology necessary.


Self-care is a top priority. If you're making choices that help you take care of yourself, the term "sorry" doesn't need to factor into it.