You’ve likely heard this line. It seems to be the go-to suggestion for anyone who is dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental, emotional, or even physical issue.
“Do you have stress? Oh, you need more self-care.”
“I feel anxious, depressed or overwhelmed. I definitely need more self-care.”
“Do you have a stress-related illness? High blood pressure, headaches, hormonal imbalance, stomach aches? You should do better self-care.”
Everyone is tossing about “self-care” but what does it even mean?
Here are 3 myths about self-care that are causing more harm than good.
Myth #1: Self-care means I can do what I want, whenever I want.
We lean toward self care in order to help us feel better. Often this gets all mixed up with the belief that feeling better means to do whatever I want whenever I want. Have you ever heard of a person who could do whatever they want when ever they want and still be happy? No. Open any magazine and read about celebrities. The whatever-I-want-whenever-I-want attitude is not self-care because it creates more harm than good.
Truth: Self-care has very little to do with vacations, toenails, hair, beaches, massage oils, purses, or shoes. All those things do not make or break your happiness. Those things cannot reach inside you and change your inner world; you must do that. Self-care means that whether or not your life is filled with good things or tough things, you can maintain your inner environment of ease, flow, and contentment.
Myth #2: Self-care means I don’t have to pay attention to other people.
When we put too much emphasis on the self in self-care, we end up losing the big picture. The fulfilling work, loving relationships, and sense of connection that we most seek is wiped out when we are being self-absorbed. This attitude is not self-care because it creates more harm than good.
Truth: The happiest people in the history of planet Earth have helped other people along their paths. Feeling good and helping others creates a positive feedback loop and is a true form of self-care. Instead of focusing on what you can get, focus on what you can give. That’s self-care.
Myth #3: Self-care means I can do less, take it easy, and just relax.
It is absolutely true that being too busy spreads you too thin and makes you susceptible to stress, but that doesn’t mean that the opposite is true. The opposite of busyness is laziness and that is not the solution. Lazy people are not happy people, so just doing nothing is definitely not self-care.
Truth: If doing too much isn’t self-care, and doing nothing isn’t self-care, then what is? Figure out what matters most to you, and do more of that. If raising your kids, building your side-job, feeding the family, helping other people, or volunteering matter to you, then do that. That’s self-care.
As you can see there are many wrong ways to do self-care, and while they may be nice in the moment, or feel good for a bit, they are truly ineffective at what you initially wanted them to do! Such as charging you up, conquering your stress, or helping you find happiness.
Don’t confuse self-care with self-indulgence. Self-care isn’t taking the easy way; it’s taking the right way. Self-care shouldn’t make you soft, it should make you strong. Self-care is any practice, action, thought, or feeling that builds your character and makes you a better person. You can think of self-care as the best-version-of-self-care. That’s true self-care and that’s the key to happiness.
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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