Self-care has taken the internet by storm with people posting photos of splurges and spa days and “treat yourself” trips. Sometimes you need moments like these to take care of yourself. But what happens when your needs are skewed by your wants? The wrong kind of “self-care” is often temporary relief, not lasting or healing fulfillment, and this can cause real damage to your mental health.
What is self-care?
According to Everyday Health, self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, do your job, care for others, and accomplish all the things you need and want to. It is important that self-care is deliberate, like taking time to refresh yourself and restore the best version of yourself physically and emotionally. Self-care may look like participating in a fitness class, taking time to invest in a hobby, meditating, or relaxing in a bubble bath. There are several outlets of self-care that benefit your mind and body.
What isn’t self-care?
Self-care is not an excuse for overindulgence. Consistently splurging on unhealthy foods or a random assortment of things that you probably don’t need can be detrimental. According to the Wright Foundation, these focuses of self-care have been labeled as soft addictions, which have the opposite effect on your mental health in the long run.
When you see consumerism as self-care instead of a band-aid approach to fitting in with societal norms or forcing yourself to feel better the same way as everyone else, it does more harm than good.
What works for you?
Self-care should improve your mental and physical well-being. Each person has different needs that need tending to, and that is okay. Dedicate time to finding a good fit for you. Once you find what best frees your mind and body, you’re on the right track.