Self-care is anything you do to replenish your physical, emotional and spiritual energy.
Self-care can be resting, having fun, or doing something kind for yourself, depending on your needs at any given point in time.
Because it’s a relatively new concept, self-care is widely misunderstood.
Keep reading if you’re interested in learning the truth about self-care, and clearing up three common myths.
Myth #3: I don’t have time for self-care.
Between increasing workloads and side gigs and parenting and errands and friends… now people are supposed to make time for self-care? I hear you.
One reason why this is a myth is that self-care doesn’t have to mean a weeklong vacation, or even a day off work.
Self-care can mean turning off the notifications on your phone for an hour, taking a short lunch break, or even listening to a one-minute meditation in the middle of your workday. Self-care doesn’t have to be time-consuming to be effective.
The second reason that this is a myth is that it implies you have no control over how you allocate your time. You absolutely do.
If you decide self-care is valuable enough to you, you’ll make the time to do it, even if it means cutting out something else in your schedule.
Myth #2: I don’t have the money for self-care.
Like most other millennials, my husband and I have debt, and we’re trying to save for a home and a family.
When many of us think of self-care (that certainly includes Donna and Tom of Parks and Rec), what often comes to mind first is luxury – mani-pedis, vacations, shopping sprees and so on.
The truth is, self-care doesn’t have to mean spending loads on a personal masseuse (although if you *can* afford that, more power to you!).
There are so many ways to invest in yourself that don’t cost a dime. Self-care can mean taking a walk in the park, or taking some slow breaths in through the nose, and out through the mouth.
Here are some more ideas for free self-care activities.
Myth #1: Self-care is selfish.
For many of us, particularly parents, caregivers, and natural helpers, self-care sounds… well, self-centered.
Why spend time on ourselves when we could be helping someone else, or crossing things off of our ever-lengthening to-do list?
Well, here’s why: Everyone has a limited amount of physical and emotional bandwidth.
If you keep going, going, going like the energizer bunny, sooner or later, you will burn out. Maybe you will get really physically ill, or fatigued, or start snapping at the people you love. Self-care can prevent you from reaching your limit by replenishing your energy.
I would go so far as to say that self-care is actually selfLESS because it allows you to bring your best self to your work and relationships over longer periods of time.
The Bottom Line
Many people (including me, sometimes) have difficulty embracing self-care because we’re not used to it. Most of us weren’t taught how to care for ourselves, or why it’s important, and so it’s new and uncomfortable.
These three myths are not only myths, but also ways we try to talk ourselves out of engaging in self-care.
In my clinical and personal opinion, the benefits of self-care greatly outweigh the feelings of discomfort it can bring up.
Whether or not you feel like it, you are a worthwhile person who is just as deserving of care and attention as anyone else in your life.
So, go and get that self-care!
Rebecca is a licensed therapist who practices telehealth counseling in Illinois. Rebecca empowers therapy clients to cope with anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and relationship problems using their natural strengths and inner wisdom.
To learn more about becoming a therapy client, contact me.