Why You Have Been Practicing Self-Care All Wrong

While self-care can be gratifying in the end, it can be a very difficult and cruel journey to get to a place where you feel most successful. It forces you to essentially make a mental spreadsheet to look at your problems and help you create new ways to avoid them at all possible or how to maintain them in a manageable way that doesn’t enhance anxious or negative emotions.

Many people think that self-care is about enforcing a routine, making healthy meals, taking a bath and trying to push aside or escape your feelings. They don’t realize that creating a distraction isn’t a solution.

Self-care is making a choice to build a life for yourself where you don’t need to escape from.

It’s finding coping mechanisms, recognizing what you need to do in order to prevent negative emotions from damaging your life for what seems like eternity, and creating a secure unit around you to ensure your happiness and positive development. It means looking at your failures and disappointments head on and re-strategizing a way to overcome them. You learn to let go, make sacrifices and live for yourself.

The route to finding what changes you need to make to your life for your benefit can be ugly.

Cutting people out of your life is a huge stepping stone in the right direction, even if they don’t get an explanation why. It’s hard to do and feels so cruel to do to someone, but sometimes there’s no explanation that needs to be said simply because you’ve grown apart and don’t speak or because they’ve become so toxic you can’t bring yourself to do it. The guilt will eat you alive, but you’ll get over it.

You may need to get another job for a while, not necessarily because you want to or have to, but for the additional benefits it provides. Obviously the money is well worth it because it may relieve financial stress or help you feel secure financially. It also gives you an opportunity to get you out of your house and interact with other people, as well as the potential to create new friendships. It’s extremely beneficial if you find being home negative to your mental health. Even if it’s one or two days a week, it makes a huge difference.

You may need to create new hobbies to keep yourself busy so you won’t spend time alone and over thinking.

You also need to determine what steps need to be taken if you suddenly feel your ‘old ways’ creeping in. For example, if you notice that your friends are draining your energy and you just need a night to yourself to revitalize your energy, recognize when you feel that mood coming on and do something before it becomes too late and that you get in a funk. Turning off your phone and going silent to focus on yourself works wonders.

You no longer have to use your hectic lifestyle as an excuse for your binge drinking night out with your girlfriends, or justify your actions. It’s all about learning to stop fixing yourself while you grow and take care of yourself to give yourself the life you want to live and make yourself the person you aspire to be.

What’s frustrating to me is that self-care and self-love have become such trendy topics in our world and people don’t even realize what it means or how to get there. It should not be something we resort to because we’re “tired” and need an escape, and we should not have to create a false sense of reality. It’s an entire lifestyle change, it shouldn’t be a glamorized term for being “exhausted” after a long day.

Treating yourself is only guaranteeing temporary happiness, not long term. It’s disconnecting you with the long term goal of genuine self care. Obviously, it is still important to treat yourself and celebrate yourself, especially after all the difficult journey you’re about to go on. Just limit them to keep them special.

The point is, you can find a way to accept yourself so you’re not constantly exhausted or debilitated from everything going on (or what isn’t), try to limit your use of mandated breaks and create a lifestyle that minimizes your brain from overworking in negative and stressful patterns. You just need to work at it and see your potential to accomplish this lifestyle change. You are the hero in your new life, not the victim.

Featured image via Gianandrea Villa on Unsplash


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