When it comes to self-care, this is the question you need to ask yourself.
You see, there is a danger when you hear people say that self-care is important, to confuse this with “spoiling yourself” with the one thing you love the most – even if it’s the one thing that you know is not good for you. In other words, using self-care as an excuse to indulge in your vices.
*Going for a smoke break to get away from your desk and have alone-time, is not self-care.
*Rewarding yourself with chocolate after a stressful day if you’re a diabetic, is not self-care.
*Buying a new colour nail varnish for your weekly manicure when you are trying to save money for a new kitchen, is not self-care.
The examples above do have elements of self-care: taking time for yourself and doing something you enjoy and that’s great, but you don’t want to fall back into, or start, a bad habit all in the name of self-care.
Self-care won’t teach you to value yourself, be kind to yourself, or re-energize you if you are going to feel guilty afterwards.
Go for a walk instead of a smoke break if you want alone-time, reward yourself with a handful of nuts instead of chocolates if you are diabetic, and do something that’s free if you are trying to save money.
Something I feel strongly about as a form of self-care is taking prescribed medication. If you have been prescribed medication for high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, diabetes, etc., then taking your medicines in the prescribed dosage and at the prescribed times, is 100% a form of self-care. Add to that an activity that will help you relax, and you have a great combination of mind-body activities to manage your illness.
When you consider starting a self-care routine (which I highly recommend!) ask yourself “Will this make me feel good or guilty?”. If the answer isn’t “Good”, find another way of taking care of yourself.