When exactly did ‘self-care’ come to mean “Friday afternoon wine-o’clock” or buying another “but it was on sale” dress?


What self-care IS NOT…

Two of the biggest mistakes you can make, in terms of your health and wellbeing, is confusing your habit for distractions and coping mechanisms with true self-care.

Distractions are when you use certain ‘fixes’ to temporarily divert your attention, while coping mechanisms are the habits you have developed to feel (falsely) in control.

Both of these come into play when you are avoiding certain feelings which make you uncomfortable or challenged in some way, when you haven’t yet developed a pattern for making healthier choices.


What self-care actually IS…

Self-care – at its very essence – is about caring for yourself as the whole and divine being that you are. Your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.

This means proactively creating a life you don’t have to escape from with foggy-wine thoughts or glitzy-bag gloating. Of course, you can enjoy a glass of wine – and who doesn’t love a bargain buy – but these ‘me time’ activities are NOT the same (or a replacement for) genuine self-care.

As a direct reflection of your self-worth, self-care requires you to prioritise yourself and hold on to your self-loving boundaries even when it feels tough to do so. It requires you to sometimes say ‘no’ to others so you can say ‘yes’ to yourself more often.


Something for you to explore…

Consider these scenarios and pay attention to the conversation in your head…

If you have an ongoing health concern, do you schedule your appointments well in advance with a preventative / maintenance approach OR book them at the last minute when something goes wrong?

If you have scheduled free time for yourself in a few days and then a friend asks you to run some (non-urgent) errands for her at that same time, do you say yes OR no?

If you have your schedule for tomorrow planned at a pace that feels just right for you and then a client calls in a panic again (as she has done many times before), do you defer her to another day OR jostle everything so you can squeeze her in?

Please understand that this is not about ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – but an opportunity to notice your inner dialogue and ask yourself if you’re truly happy and at ease with those patterns.

If you recognise that your beliefs aren’t supporting you in living your best life then engaging in personal development and/or counselling can serve you well by allowing you to create a different reality for yourself.


Consequences of running on empty

If you leave your self-care for the rare moments when you aren’t over-committed to others, how can you stay centred and aligned with your values and purpose? How will your cup be filled to overflowing so that you can support others without it costing your health and peace of mind?

If you think “I don’t have time for self-care” then consider what is the COST (time and money, as well as your equilibrium) for when you’re running on empty. Here are some examples.

  • Physical – adrenal burnout, digestive issues, low immunity, sore or tight muscles, poor sleep quality.
  • Mental – foggy thinking, easily distracted, difficulty making decisions, anxiety, constant mind chatter.
  • Emotional – short fuse with kids/partner, not present to client/customer, self-flagellation, resorting to poor habits, blaming others.
  • Spiritual – disconnected from your intuition, doubting your gut-instinct, losing sight of your purpose, not living with your values, energetically drained.

If you can admit and embrace – without having to defend or feel shame about – being truly human and not indestructible, then perhaps you can recognise that making the time to nurture yourself at the core is ESSENTIAL (and not a luxury) for being healthy and whole.


Further reading:

25 ideas for self-care & asking for support (self-care pt 2)



© Artemiss Keyhani, 2021
Photo: John Hain @Pixabay

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