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Shattering Self-Care Myths: 5 Damaging Misconceptions


Self-care is the art of taking care of yourself. It refers to any activity or task that helps us manage stress and improve our overall well-being. Self-care is about taking care of your body, mind, and emotions. It means making sure you have what you need to stay healthy and happy. It can include anything that makes our physical, mental, and emotional health better or helps us feel good and manage stress.


When we think of self-care, many of us imagine treating ourselves and enjoying things we love. But self-care is more than just that. In fact, some activities that make us feel good are actually damaging, such as retail therapy or junk food.


In today's world of social media, we often come across fancy pictures and posts about luxurious self-care that can give us the wrong idea. Influencers and ads show us extravagant ways to take care of ourselves, but these things may not be good or right for everyone. It's important to remember that self-care isn't about spending lots of money or trying to be like the people we see online. Instead, it's about doing things that truly make us feel good and take care of our bodies and minds. While social media can give us ideas, we need to be careful and think for ourselves. We should choose self-care activities that really help us, rather than following trends or trying to look a certain way. Each person's self-care journey is unique, and we should focus on what truly makes us happy and healthy, instead of trying to be like others.


We will explore some of these myths, but first, let's understand the importance of self-care.


Why is Self-Care Important?


When you practice self-care, it can bring many benefits to your life.

  • It can help you feel better physically and mentally.

  • It can reduce stress and improve your mood.

  • It can help you learn how to deal with challenges and become more resilient.

  • It can help you be more productive and motivated.

  • It can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted.

  • Self-care can also strengthen your relationships with others and boost your confidence and self-esteem.

 

Myth 1: Self-Care is Selfish


The first and most common myth is that self-care is selfish. Many people believe that self-care is a selfish act, thinking that taking care of oneself means neglecting others. This misconception leads to feelings of guilt and the belief that prioritizing personal needs is wrong. However, self-care is not selfish. By attending to our own well-being, we become more capable of helping and supporting others. When we fill our own cup, we have more to give to others. Put on your own oxygen mask first." Take care of you so that you can take care of other people.


Myth 2: Self-Care is a Luxury


Another common myth about self-care is that it is a luxury reserved for those who can afford expensive indulgences. The idea that self-care must involve lavish vacations or expensive spa treatments is misleading. While it's true that such experiences can be enjoyable, self-care doesn't have to be costly. In fact, many self-care practices require little to no money at all. Engaging in activities like taking a walk, writing in a journal, or enjoying a warm beverage can be just as beneficial for your well-being without breaking the bank.


Myth 3: Self-Care is Always Fun and Exciting


Self-care activities are not always glamorous or exciting. Some tasks might feel mundane or even like chores, but they are still important for self-care. Planning, organizing, and preparing for the future are acts of self-care, even if they don't evoke immediate excitement. Taking care of your future self by keeping a calendar, making to-do lists, meal planning, scheduling health-related appointments, or even just picking out clothes for the next day are all examples of self-care practices that may not be thrilling but contribute to overall well-being.


Myth 4: Self-Care is Optional


Many individuals perceive self-care as an optional aspect of life, believing that neglecting their needs won't have significant consequences. However, neglecting self-care can lead to long-term negative effects, such as burnout, depression, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Taking care of oneself is not a choice but a necessity for overall well-being. Regular self-care practices help replenish energy levels, promote balance, and foster a sense of groundedness. By attending to our needs, we can better navigate life's challenges and maintain our physical and emotional health.


Myth 5: Anything That Makes You Feel Good is Self-Care


While activities that bring immediate pleasure may seem like self-care, it's important to understand that not everything that feels good is necessarily beneficial in the long run. Some behaviours may provide temporary enjoyment but can be harmful if indulged in excessively or over time. Examples include consuming junk food, smoking, drinking alcohol, excessive screen time, gaming, or oversleeping. For example, retail therapy, which means buying things to feel better, can give us temporary happiness, but it doesn't truly address our underlying needs or promote genuine well-being. Similarly, indulging in junk food might taste good in the moment, but it can have negative effects on our health. It is crucial to be mindful of these behaviours and seek healthier alternatives that promote overall well-being.

 

In today's world of social media, we often see advertisements and influencers promoting things like shopping sprees or indulging in junk food as forms of self-care. However, it's important to understand that these activities may not be good for us in the long run. It's important to be aware that self-care is not about instant gratification or relying on material possessions and unhealthy habits. True self-care involves making choices that nourish our bodies and minds, like engaging in physical activity, eating nutritious meals, or spending time with loved ones. By understanding what is truly beneficial for our well-being, we can make wiser choices that support our long-term health and happiness.


Psychotherapy can support healthy self-care by increasing self-awareness, helping identify and challenge unhealthy patterns, assisting in setting healthy boundaries, teaching stress management techniques, and promoting self-esteem and self-compassion. Through the therapeutic process, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of themselves, acquire effective tools to manage stress and prioritize self-care, and cultivate a positive and compassionate relationship with themselves.


All in all, there are several common myths surrounding self-care that I'm sure almost all of us have heard. It is essential to debunk these misconceptions and understand the true nature of self-care. It is not selfish, a luxury, or something that needs to be earned. Self-care is necessary for physical and emotional well-being, and it doesn't have to be time-consuming or always feel enjoyable. By engaging in self-care practices, we can prioritize our needs, maintain balance, and live a healthier and happier life.


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About The Author

Natasha Filntissis is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Western University. She is a passionate advocate for mental health, & believes in the importance of taking care of one's physical and mental well-being. In addition to her academics, Natasha was also a former semi-professional soccer player. Her favourite self-care activities include journaling, practicing yoga, and working out. Currently, she is working with children with Autism in 1:1 and group settings. Natasha intends to pursue a Masters degree, & her ultimate goal is to inspire and educate others about the value of mental health and self-care to lead a fulfilling life.

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