Is Your Self-care Actually Hurting You?

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Is Your Self-care Actually Hurting You?

The practice of self-care has picked up a lot of attention and momentum over the last few years, especially with moms living crazy hectic lives. However, just with any other practices, it has taken off and has morphed into some practices or misunderstandings that can be self-defeating.

Let’s first talk about what self-care is not. These are ideas we mistakenly believe to be self-care practices yet can contribute to increased unhealthy behavior cycles.

Self-care is not:

...always going to feel good. The idea that self-care will always feel good or be immediately gratifying is a myth. Good self-care does not always feel good. (You will come to understand this better when we get into what self-care is, so hang in there with me.) be confused with coping or self-soothing. Coping skills are used in short term in order to get to a place to “deal” with struggles or triggers.

...avoidance. Many times avoidance can be counter productive to actual health. It can be very healthy to allow yourself to feel and sit with discomfort. Encourage yourself to acknowledge the discomfort and appreciate it and/or what it has allowed to you learn.

...overindulgence. This is a biggie. Many people unknowingly use “self-care” as an excuse to regularly practice overindulgence. Someone may begin to emotionally rely on food or substances on a regular basis after using small moments of gratification as a regular self-care practice.

You may be thinking, “Wow! There goes all of my self-care ideas!” Hold on a minute, you may be surprised at what is actually considered healthy self-care practices.

Let’s first define self-care. It is regularly practicing self management or as I like to say, caring for yourself on the daily. When you are identifying healthy self-care practices, keep in mind what you are attributing to your body, mind and spirit.

Body- This includes physical care, sexual health as well as safety and security. These might include:

  • Regular exercise

  • Healthy eating

  • Good hygiene

  • Regular health care appointments and practices

Mind- This includes intellectual practice like:

  • Reading

  • Learning new things

  • Museums

  • Taking up a hobby

Spirit- This is you emotional and social health. While it may or may not include religious practices it can be:

  • Prayer

  • Meditation

  • Practicing humor

  • Social events

  • Nurturing relationships

  • Support

  • Expressing your feelings

The next time you using self-care, remind yourself it is separate from treating yourself. (Not that treating yourself is not healthy and helpful). Think about your go-to practices and where they fit in the ideas of caring for your body, mind and spirit on the daily. Make a list of some new self-care practices.

Here are my top three that will feed all three Body, Mind and Spirit.

  1. Participate in regular coaching, therapy or support groups.

  2. Practice healthy boundaries. Learn to say no and build your confidence.

  3. Learn a new hobby or dig deeper into one you already started.