2 self-care myths (and what it really means)

what-is-self-care

3 min read

When we think of self-care, our minds wander off to indulgent bubble baths, binge eating on mint-chocolate chip ice cream while watching Netflix or slumping around the house in our pyjamas for 4 days straight, (dry shampoo in place of a shower.)

As awesome-feeling and necessary as those moments can be, they aren’t exactly self-care (but ohhhh they feel so great while you're doing them don't they??)

Knowing what self-care ISN’T is probably more important than knowing what it is.

Here are 2 key self-care myths:

1. Indulging in food or behaviors that you previously considered “bad” only because you had a stressful day.

  • I’m not saying don't have the cookie or don't go shopping. Simply try being mindful of where your desire to have the cookie or to spend that $$ is coming from.

    Before you react on impulse, try asking these questions:

  • Do you want to feel comfort?

  • Relaxed after a long day?

  • What do you associate when eating the particular food item?

    Notice the pattern of behavior when you think you are “deserving” of something if things go wrong. If what you’re eating is going to make you feel guilt and shame then that's not true self-care because those emotions are more harmful to your system than the perceived “bad” food you’re eating.

    TRY: If you want comfort after a long day, can you make a list of 10 things that provide you with pleasure? Select a couple items on your list that can be your go-to and will leave you feeling good, when a crappy day happens.

2. Following the latest trends in commercialized wellness: "healthy" foods, workouts, clothing, gadgets, diets, etc.

  • This can become an unhealthy and very expensive routine to follow if done mindlessly. Anxiety may creep in leaving us feeling like we're always trying to keep up with the next trend without taking the time to truly connect with it and see if it's the right fit for us.

    Self-care doesn't mean eating organic, trying turmeric/crystals/floating/sound therapy/barre all at the same time, but it also doesn't mean you should do them if that's what works for you either. If they are adding anxiety, stress and a gaping hole in your wallet, it may be a good idea to reconsider the selection process.

    TRY: If you like experiencing new trends, write out a list of what's trending. Perhaps select one or two that excite you the most, and it might be a good idea to consider setting a budget to keep within limits that won't cause you financial stress later on.

So...what IS self-care?

I love this definition by Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

"Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept, in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others."

Self-care is different for everyone, and there isn't a one-size fit all approach.

The way you define self-care won't be the way I do. But that's the beauty of it.

Each of us has the power to create a practice that fits our unique perspective, values, and lifestyle. And each of us has the freedom to choose to implement a practice. There is no judgment either way.

By understanding what it is or isn't empowers us to make that decision for ourselves.

As Amy Kurtz mentions:

"Keep perspective and do what’s right for you. Remember the importance of slowing down, tuning into yourself, and asking yourself what feels right for you. Because when you make that space, you allow your “self” to grow, heal, flourish and rock the world. And that’s something all of us deserve.”

{In 2 weeks we'll start a seven-week blog post series on the "7 Pillars of self-care" according to the International Self-Care Foundation. It's packed with useful practices and information I'm excited to share along with worksheets to help determine your own self-care practice - if that's something you'd be interested in doing.}

xo

-Dena