How To Avoid The Common Pitfalls Of Self Care

Self care is seeing a lot of buzz right now and for plenty of good reasons. When it’s practiced correctly, it’s a fantastic way to ward off stress, boost your energy, and improve your overall wellbeing. It can help you take control of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health when you take it seriously.

Unfortunately, the problem with self care being so “popularized” is that it makes it easy for so many people to get it wrong.

Yes, there can be a “wrong” way to take care of yourself. Self care can go too far, and there are plenty of common mistakes people are making regularly. Many people automatically think self care means having fun and relaxing, but that isn’t always the case. Some believe it requires luxury and money – also not true.

Self care isn’t self-indulgent. It’s also something that you have to re-evaluate every day because what works for you could change, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to your wellbeing.

So, how can you avoid some of the common pitfalls of self care?

Don’t Do It On Your Own

The term “self care” can be confusing because it gives people the idea that they can tackle any challenges on their own. While there are things you can do each day to promote wellness in your life, most lone self-care practices aren’t designed to treat depression, anxiety, or mental health disorders.

Can self care help? Absolutely. Can it be a way to manage your symptoms? Yes. But, it should never be a replacement for support – either relational or professional. Self care doesn’t have to be something you tackle on your own. It’s something you can practice by reaching out for help.

There are only so many things you can do for yourself when you’re struggling with your mental health before it becomes something out of your control. You’ll quickly find that a hot bath that used to calm your nerves doesn’t work anymore. Going for a morning run might not de-stress you the way you want.

So, don’t fall into the idea that self care needs to be a lone wolf operation. If you keep doing things on your own, it can end up doing more harm than good. Reach out for help and support as needed, even if that means working with a therapist or counselor.

Don’t Overcompensate

Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Overworked? If so, you’re in a group of about 73% of people who say regular stress impacts their mental health. No, that isn’t the beginning line of an infomercial, it’s just an unfortunate statistic. No one wants to be so stressed that it affects their mental (or physical) wellbeing.

So, it’s easy to turn to self care as a solution, right? Yes, but only to an extent. One of the mistakes people make when practicing self care is overcompensating with it. That idea can take on a few different forms, including:

  • Indulging past your means
  • “Treating yourself” to extreme luxury
  • Taking on too many things you enjoy at once
  • Decluttering/getting rid of too much
  • Taking too many “me” days
  • Being mindless with your care

The more stress you feel, the more you might be tempted to take on more self care than you can handle. Even if you’re taking care of yourself, doing things you enjoy, and feeling better for a while, there is always the risk of having too much of a good thing. Don’t overcompensate for stress by trying to take on too many positive things. In some cases, doing so can even be dangerous. For example, exercise is a great way to practice self care. But, working out too much can be hard on your cardiovascular system and put you at greater risk of getting injured.

If you take on too much at once, you’ll find that the way you practice self care can turn into just another addition to the things stressing you out.

Don’t Follow Blindly

Because self care is often used today as a sort of marketing term, there are trends that go along with it. But, wellness trends are nothing new. We’ve all heard of popular diet fads, including:

  • South Beach
  • Keto
  • Paleo
  • Atkins

Some people swear by these lifestyles, while others have used them as a quick way to lose weight – only to gain it all back.

Self care is a long-term solution. It should be about making healthy, habitual changes to your lifestyle, rather than quick fixes and fads that will make you feel better in a matter of minutes. For example, starting a supplement regimen is a great way to make sure your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs. But, don’t just grab the first bottle from the shelf because it has a celebrity endorsement or claims on the bottle that it can do more than what’s expected.

Instead, do your research on different brands, and what certain vitamins are meant to do for your body. You can put yourself at risk by taking too many vitamins or by ingesting a dosage that’s too high. Taking too much vitamin E, for instance, can cause hypervitaminosis, reducing your blood’s ability to form clots.

Self care is a wonderful thing when it’s done mindfully, and for the right reasons. When it becomes a marketing gimmick that causes people to abuse it or practice it the wrong way, it can have damaging effects, and do the opposite of what it’s supposed to. Avoid these common pitfalls as you practice self-care in your life, and you can enjoy the benefits of truly doing what’s best for your wellbeing.

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