Unless you don’t have access to the internet, you’ve heard the term “self care” before. Although people mean well with it, many times their idea of what self care is is actually self soothing activities that are done to make them feel good in the moment. So what is the difference between them?
Self care focuses on being mindful of your needs and taking the necessary steps to fulfil them. Ensuring you’re eating healthy and nutritious foods when all you want is a burger. Not going on a shopping spree because you’re trying to save for your future. Going to see a doctor for yearly checkups. Getting enough sleep each night. Spending a bit of time meditating instead of binging Netflix. Self care is taking care of ourselves even in times where we may not want to. Focusing on self care may not always be enjoyable, but doing these activities is setting yourself up for success.
These activities should make you feel better when you’re done, even if they’re difficult in the beginning. Self care activities are the ones that keep you going. Even something as simple and mundane as picking up your prescription from the pharmacy will give you a sense of accmplishment for taking care of your health.
Some examples of self care activities:
– moving your body in a way that feels good for you
– staying hydrated by drinking enough water every day
– talking to a medical health professional if needed
– creating (and sticking to) a budget
– getting regular medical checkups from your doctor
– eating nutrition packed foods
– making times for things that are important to you
– practicing mindfulness regularly
Self soothing activities are the ones that are most often mistaken as self care. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes self soothing activities are exactly what we need in a given moment, but they are not true self care activities. If you’re having a bad day, binging Netflix and eating an entire tub of ice cream might be what you decide you want to do, but are these actions helping you in any way? If anything, they’re going to leave you feeling more in a slump. But hey, sometimes that is just what feels right in the moment, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Some self soothing activities may include getting a facial, taking a hot bath, having a big glass of wine, devouring a meal from your favourite fast food restaurant or painting your nails. Self soothing activities offer a brief moment of comfort, but are not productive.
Some examples of self soothing activities:
– retail therapy
– having an alcoholic beverage
– taking a hot bath
– listening to music
– getting a fancy coffee on the way to work
– eating your favourite meal
– binge watching your favourite shows
– cuddling up in a cozy blanket