4 Comforting Reminders about Self Care

What happens when self-care becomes a goal? Naturally, a goal requires effort. There’s no way to avoid that fact. And unfortunately, effort can easily bring on feelings of pressure. And with social media, it seems like even self-care can become a competition nowadays. As soon as you open an app, it’s like you’re inundated with the following:

“Are you eating healthy? Are you exercising? Are you drinking water? Are you getting 8 hours of sleep a night? Are you practicing meditation? Are you canceling toxicity out of your life?”

All of this can be overwhelming. Because in reality, sometimes all we have the energy to do is lie in bed or zone out. From what it seems, wellness culture has begun to cultivate some pretty rigid standards around self-care. Wellness culture wants us to reflect and ask ourselves, “Are you taking care of yourself?” Of course, this is an important question. It can even be a beautiful question filled with self-compassion. But, when we feel like the answer is no, the exact same question can trigger feelings of shame and lead us to feeling excluded from the act itself. 

So, when you set self-care as a goal, here are four comforting things to remember. 

Yes, self-care should be consistent, but don’t feel bad if self-care feels out of reach some days.

As the saying goes, consistency is key. It’s true that self-care should be a habit rather than a reaction. But in reality, it’s okay if you need that little motivation, push, or reaction to start on your journey.

No, you shouldn’t wait until your health is at risk. But, it can be helpful to find a compelling reason or catalyst to start on your self-care journey. Make the reasons you start personal to you. It can also help to see a mental health professional. Finding motivation that’s specific to how your brain works can also be a great asset. 

And some days, self-care might simply feel out of reach. The motivation might feel far away. However, don’t get down on yourself. You still deserve it, and the intention doesn’t need to go out of the window. Tomorrow is another day, and the chance to take care of yourself stays with you. 

Sometimes the pressure to always be confident is overwhelming. It’s okay to feel uncertain sometimes.

“Knowing what you want” and being self-assured is seen as a very positive quality by society. But likewise, uncertainty can bring feelings of low self-esteem or not meeting a standard. However, uncertainty is normal, and the pressure to always be confident, ambitious, and self-assured does not align with everyone. Take your time. Taking your time is one of the most consequential features of self-care.  The act of rushing releases cortisol, a stress hormone, which in excess can cause inflammation and mood changes (Premier Health, 2022). If everything else seems overwhelming, remember to take your time. That, in and of itself, is self-care. 

Don’t feel guilty about making yourself a priority. 

This brings us back to the original point that you deserve self-care. You can only live in your body, and your brain is the only one you can inhabit. So, making yourself a priority is simply self-preservation. This is not selfishness. Selfishness is an indifference or even an aversion to the common good  (American Psychological Association, 2024). You matter, and you are capable of contributing wonderful things to the world. Preserving yourself is doing good.