There are many myths surrounding the concept of self-care. Let’s talk about what they are and what the truth really is. But first, let’s define self-care. I would define it as anything you do to intentionally maintain or improve any facet of your health, including the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects.
1. Self-care is expensive.
Self-care doesn’t have to be an expensive massage, expensive dinner, or anything else that requires a lot of money. Self-care can even be free. Taking a walk or a nap, for example, are both self-care activities.
2. Self-care is selfish.
The only way you’ll have the energy and patience to help others is if you give yourself the opportunity to become rested and rejuvenated. Regardless of your best efforts and motivations, you are not a machine and will break down if you do not take care of yourself. Mothers especially often forego their own health to focus on others.
3. Self-care takes up a lot of time.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. It can be a 20-minute cat nap or eating the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the fried one (or, if it’s time for a treat, eating the fried chicken sandwich instead of the grilled one).
4. Self-care is always fun/ pleasurable.
Self-care is very different than self-indulgence. It can be doing something you don’t enjoy, such as exercise, eating healthfully, or cleaning your home.
5. Self-care is a one-time thing.
Self-care must be regularly scheduled just like other commitments like work and school. For example, getting a massage once a week or setting aside ten minutes each day for meditation are examples of self-care.
6. Self-care is a luxury.
Self-care is a necessity. It is essential to ensure we are able to function properly and not become burned out. Thinking of it as a luxury builds feelings of guilt into self-care time, which deters many people from engaging in self-care.
7. Self-care is trendy.
We live in a busy, stressful, complicated world that is only becoming moreso. Due to the state of things, the topic of self-care has come up a lot in recent years. More people are being introduced to the term and learning what it means and how important it is. Yes, the topic is more popular now than ever, but this doesn’t mean it’s a fad or that it’s not integral to a healthy lifestyle.
8. Self-care is only for mentally-ill people.
Everybody, including those without mental disorders, needs self-care. Of course, those with mental disorders often need to attend even more closely to self-care. Many people with mental disorders have an extra hard time attending to self-care. And mental illness is often the result of neglecting self-care for an extended period of time.
9. Self-care is always an action.
Sometimes, self-care is inaction. For example, not driving by somewhere that triggers you or declining a party invitation can both be examples of self-care.
Have I missed any harmful myths related to the topic of self-care? Do you find yourself believing some of these myths?