Self-care is a term we often hear these days. But what does it really mean? And how do we do it properly?
First, let’s define what self-care is. Basically, self-care is any action you take to support your long-term development. Self-care contributes to your mental, emotional and physical health. With proper and regular self-care, you feel nourished and grow as a person over time.
Self-care is different from self-soothing. Self-soothing describes temporary fixes like smoking or drinking after a stressful meeting. While self-soothing actions are helpful, they do not relax, calm or support us over time.
Let’s explore the top five self-care mistakes people make and the beneficial ways we can practice self-care.
Mistake Number One: Self-care is monotonous and routine.
A daily routine can offer predictable comfort and stability. That’s why we may drive the same route to work and order the same meal every day.
We miss out on new growth and self-sabotage ourselves, though, when we practice a monotonous self-care routine. Instead, give yourself permission to try new things, and be flexible based on the situation. For example, you may decide to skip your regular spa appointment to hang out with a friend.
Mistake Number Two: Self-care requires expensive treats.
Sure, self-care can involve spending money. You may schedule regular pedicures to boost your confidence or buy books to stretch your mind.
But you can also participate in free self-care activities. Practices like daily stretching, regular dental checkups and early bedtimes nurture your whole being. Try different activities as you select the self-care actions that nurture you and support your budget.
Mistake Number Three: Self-care is all about outward actions.
Self-care indeed includes actions. For example, we eat salads to nourish our physical health and play with our pets to relieve stress.
However, inward thoughts, self-talk and self-compassion are also vital to self-care. That’s why it’s important to practice reflection, journaling and meditation. Use these inward practices to notice behavior patterns like perfectionism or rumination. Then, you can make positive changes.
Mistake Number Four: Self-care puts your needs ahead of others.
In our quest for self-care, we may neglect, inconvenience or become demanding towards co-workers, friends or family members. Self-care may include setting boundaries, but it also values others and ourselves.
Take note of how you treat people as you perform self-care. If you consistently push responsibilities on others, avoid relationships or cancel plans, rethink your self-care practices.
Mistake Number Five: Self-care is solitary.
It’s common to isolate yourself when you feel tired, sick or sad. In fact, recharging in solitude can renew your patience, ignite your creativity and enhance your mood.
Be sure to socialize, though, too. Human connection brings comfort, boosts energy, develops resilience, relieves pain, and broadens perspective. So, prioritize one-on-one or group social outings like coffee dates, hobby club meetings and game time or play.
Self-care supports your growth and development. Learn from these five mistakes as you practice self-care the right way.