It’s common to associate self-care with laziness, narcissism or selfishness. Some people see self-care as self-indulgence, lazing around while strangers paint your toes or rub your back. This is far from the truth, and perpetuating these fallacies can be harmful.
Everyone benefits from taking care of their body and spirit. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty pitcher. With that in mind, let’s debunk a few myths.
1. Self-Care Is for the Elite Only
If you think self-care is the sole province of the wealthy, think again. Anyone from the most underpaid janitor to the most overpaid CEO benefits from caring for themselves.
Get outdoors and stroll through a nearby park or museum grounds. Research indicates getting outside boosts sour moods as effectively as medication in some cases. Take a work break and watch a cute video about kittens. It doesn’t take much to do either, but it can change a negative outlook.
2. Self-Care Is An Unhealthy Indulgence
How many times have you fought a brutal day with a much-needed drink? Self-care doesn’t mean indulging in a fat-laden cheeseburger or turning to the bottle. Your future self will likely lament these bad decisions.
Instead, self-care means whipping up a delicious but nutritious meal. It involves exercise, yoga and other healthy practices. It means shutting down negative thoughts and replacing them with more constructive ones.
3. Self-Care Is A Solo Endeavour
Many people see self-care as a solo trip. But you can always get your friends involved. For example, cuddling with your significant other releases oxytocin, a hormone that induces calm and relaxation.
Phone a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while. You could also do a good deed for a random stranger. Who knows, you might make a new best bud!
4. Self-Care Takes A Lot of Time
You don’t need to carve out a full day at the spa or set aside an hour for a luxurious bath. You can indulge in self-care in micro increments lasting only a few minutes or seconds.
Stop by the office water cooler and exchange chit-chat with your cubicle mate. Hitting the mental pause button can help you regain focus. As an alternative, find a 5-minute stretch on YouTube to do on your break. Even pausing to breathe deeply for a few moments can help revive you.
5. Self-Care Always Relaxes You
If you can spring for a massage or a mani-pedi, go for it! Self-care involves relaxation. However, it can also invigorate you. If you’re the active sort, go for a long run. You’ll release endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, and have more energy the rest of the day.
You can also get involved with a cause you’re passionate about. Volunteering energizes you. Plus, it’s a reminder that you have the power to make a difference in the world.
6. Self-Care Has To Involve Grinding Even Harder
Self-care doesn’t have to mean running yourself ragged. Yes, maybe you work two or more jobs to improve your financial picture. However, if you can afford to take a day or hour off occasionally without coming up short on rent, do so.
Most Americans either don’t receive paid vacation time or don’t use all they accrue, creating a burnout epidemic. In our capitalistic society, many wear exhaustion like a badge of honor. As a result, however, you’re less productive on the clock.
7. Self-Care Is Optional
Self-care isn’t a special indulgence you can put off perpetually. It’s a constant way of life and a necessary adaptation for staying sane in a crazy society. No matter how wonderful your life is, everyone encounters setbacks and frustration. Taking care of your mind and body helps you power through roadblocks instead of collapsing in despair.
If you find yourself feeling chronically exhausted and disconnected from your work, take a step back. Reassess your priorities and ask yourself what you need to excel. Write down a list of things you’re happy with and brainstorm an action plan for things you want to change.
Breaking the Myths Surrounding Self-Care
Practicing self-care doesn’t need to cost much money or time. Instead, it makes it possible for you to navigate the demands of daily life and become your best self. Take a few moments of timeout each day and reap the benefits.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, The Regular Guide, writes about health and wellness on his site. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow Dylan on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates on his work.