What Is Self Care, And What Is Not Self Care?

By: Sarah Fader

Updated January 25, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn

One of the best ways to learn about self care is to spend time with yourself. That’s one of the most straightforward self care tips. When you spend time with yourself, you understand your emotions. You can engage in self care by honoring your needs. When you have alone time, you will be reminded of your value. You will also recall what matters to you, and what hobbies you enjoy. Spending time doing things you love is self care. There’s a lot of confusion as to what self care is and isn’t. Some people believe that it’s selfish, but it’s not. Self care is the act of nurturing your body and mind. When you are caring for yourself, you might make people upset. It’s a strange concept, but setting boundaries and caring for you can make others angry. Still, the importance of self care is crucial for mental well-being. You deserve to be happy. Here is what self care is and what it isn’t.

What is self care?

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Self care means you dedicate time to doing activities you love. Don’t engage in things that are boring. You want to participate in hobbies that you like. You could read a book, engage in physical activity, eat a healthy diet, join a support group, or take a class. There’s no wrong way to engage in self care. The only way that you would be doing it “wrong” is if you participated in things that you don’t enjoy. When you read related articles to self care, you will learn about this concept. Some people like to look at psychology news or watch movies that inspire self care. When you nurture yourself, you’re focusing on what’s important. That is different for each person. One individual could value going to support groups, while another person is focusing on getting enough hours of sleep. Sleeping well at night can improve your mood and energy during the day. Some people don’t know how to practice self care. But there’s always a way to learn.

What isn’t self care?

In addition to knowing what self care is, it’s helpful to know what self care isn’t. That way, you understand how to nourish yourself. Practicing self care takes effort. We know that taking care of oneself means focusing inward. self care isn’t putting others before you. It’s about recognizing what you need. It’s essential to place your needs as valuable in your mind. self care is not obsessively checking emails at night. Doing that can lead to more stress and anxiety. Of course, you don’t want to miss out on hearing from your friends or family, but you may get some correspondence from work and feel the need to respond to it. You don’t need that stress and anxiety when you’re winding down for the evening. Self care means doing things that are relaxing and make you feel good. It isn’t engaging in activities that raise your blood pressure. Many people don’t let themselves take a break. When you continuously work and work, you will get burnt out. That is bad for your emotional health. It’s not self care. Try to focus on activities that benefit your long term health.

Setting boundaries

Setting boundaries can be an essential part of self care. There are times when what you need and what another person requires contradict. It’s okay to put yourself first. Part of self care means honoring what your needs are so that you don’t resent individuals afterward. If somebody asks you for something and you cannot give it to them, it is okay to set a boundary by saying no. You might be a very giving person, but you can’t give all of yourself to other people. You will end up being resentful, and that is not healthy for your well-being. Setting boundaries is one of the hardest things for some individuals to do, but it is a road to self care. If you are having difficulty setting limits, you can talk about these issues with a mental health professional. They can dig deep and find out why it’s difficult to set boundaries for you. It could have to do with traumatic experiences, or perhaps you lived in a household that was extremely codependent. It’s extremely important to find ways to set boundaries with others so that you feel good about yourself and your actions.

Physical health

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Self care means being mindful of all aspects of your well-being. That requires attention to your mind and body. There is a mind-body connection. Part of good self care is taking care of your physical health. That means seeing a doctor or medical provider regularly. It also requires physical activity and eating healthy. If you’re unsure of how to maintain physical health, you can always talk to a medical provider. They can address these concerns with you and run any necessary tests if you have symptoms of discomfort. They can offer advice diagnosis or treatment. When you take care of your body, it will benefit your physical and mental health.

Mental health and self care

There are many ways to engage in self care that benefit your mental health. Caring for you will undoubtedly improve your mental well-being. You can find a therapist who understands the value of self care. They can show you some reasons that will help you understand why putting yourself first matters. It’s crucial for people who suffer from mental health concerns to find a therapist. That person is dedicated to helping you discover the best ways to engage in self care. They can also help you help yourself. That means supporting you and learning a self care routine. They can provide medical advice and mental health guidance. When you find a therapist who gets you, they can adequately advise you on how to nurture yourself. When you suffer from mental health issues, self care is crucial. Your counselor can help you find a support group if you need one. They can provide some useful self care tips.

You might be unclear about what your mental health needs are. One way to gain clarity is by keeping a self care journal.

Journaling for self care

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If you’re in therapy, your counselor may provide you with some self care strategies. You can take note of these when you have a journal dedicated to your mental health. You may come up with your own self care strategies. The journal is a place to note these down. Some of the techniques will work, while others will not be as effective. When you keep track of what self care strategies you’ve tried, you can see what’s working and what isn’t. Then it’s helpful to report back to your therapist about your findings.

Meditations and self care

Meditation has a variety of health benefits. It can calm anxiety, lower blood pressure, help with life stressors, and improve focus. It’s also an excellent way to engage in self care. Meditation can be incorporated into your self care routine. You don’t need to meditate for long periods of time either. You can choose a short session of 10 minutes. Even a one-minute meditation can help you. Incorporate meditation into your self care routine, and you will feel more grounded during the day.

Addictions and self care

Some people struggle with addictions. They find help at treatment centers. If you have an addictive personality, you might be challenged by self care. If you are struggling with compulsive behavior, you might consider visiting a treatment center. Find a therapist who can refer you to a place that can assist with addictive behaviors. That is a form of self care. You are taking care of your mental health by seeking treatment. It can be daunting to get help for addiction. But a treatment center is an excellent place to start. The individuals who work in these centers understand how powerful addiction is. And how difficult it is to break the cycle.

Join a support group

Support groups are collections of individuals who are there to lean on during rough times. The world can feel like a lonely place, but when you are a member of a community, it is an invaluable experience. Self care means understanding what your mental and physical health requires. A support group is an excellent place to get help for a variety of issues. Maybe you’re grieving from the loss of a loved one. Perhaps you have a partner who is addicted to a particular substance. There’s a support group for pretty much anything you can think of needing help within life. People who struggle with compulsive behavior or gambling have meetings they can attend. One of the best things about a support group is that it gives people a place where they feel like they’re part of a community. When you feel less alone, it can contribute to your mental health. Support groups are helpful, but they may not be enough for your self care. You might want to find a therapist.

Find a therapist and care for your mental health

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Mental health is crucial to your overall state of mind. You can find a therapist who understands the value of self care and can show you different techniques to help you feel better. Everybody views self care differently, and it’s essential that your therapist knows what you believe is important. Don’t let anybody tell you what makes you feel grounded. As long as you are not hurting yourself or others, it is okay to engage in anything that you believe is self care. If you’re unsure about it, you can run it by your therapist. There are many ways to find a therapist, including private practice or working with one online. When you connect with a mental health professional, it’s a wonderful feeling. The counselors at BetterHelp want to support you and your journey to self care. You can find a therapist on the site who will support you in learning techniques to help yourself feel better.

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