Take a bath. Light some candles. Get a pedicure. These are just some of the ideas I’ve often seen touted in articles promoting self-care.
Here are 5 reasons why your self-care isn’t working for you:
It’s not Right for you
When I was younger I used to feel sorry for myself because I didn’t enjoy going to parties or drinking. I assumed everyone else liked those things and that they were always having a much better time (and life) than I was. Over the years I came to realize that we all have different interests and ideas of what is fun or relaxing. When it comes to self-care, what works for someone else may not work for you.
It Feels Like Another to-do List Item
Does seeing all the #SelfCareSaturday posts on social media make you feel less-than, forcing you to add Instagram-worthy self-care to your to-do list each week? Honestly, one of my favourite things to do is go outside and explore nature or my little neighbourhood without documenting a single thing. It feels sneaky, selfish, and totally self-care worthy. Don’t make self-care feel like a chore. Not feeling your weekly scheduled solo coffee time? Skip it or pick something else.
It Doesn’t Feel Like a Treat
Do you actually enjoy doing the thing that you’ve decided was your idea of self-care? I wrote a post all about how to treat yourself to things that add value to your life. One piece of adulting that took me some time to figure out is what things I truly enjoyed and what other things were kind of meh. Knowing what feels like a treat to you is a good place to start when it comes to self-care. And yes, treats totally count!
It’s Comfort not Care
In this Strategy for Joy video, Molly Mahar of Stratejoy helps you to distinguish what you’re really craving and provides steps to take conscious action in that direction.
“If you’ve been sliding into the land of distraction, numbness, excessive soothing at the expense of your values, there’s no point in beating yourself up. Practice some self-compassion and let today be the “reset” button. If the comfort has been gaining crazy momentum, make a different choice now. Today. Tonight.”
Sign up for access to the handy worksheets: stratejoy.com.respond.ontraport.net/self-care-self-comfort-worksheets
and read Molly Mahar’s full post on Self-Care versus Self-Comfort
You’re Being too “Precious” with your Self-Care
Do you really need to have 2 hours to yourself, a candlelit bathroom, something yummy to drink, and rose petals to sprinkle in the bathtub for it to count as self-care? Or, will you allow yourself to have a less-than-perfect bath for however long you’re able or want to? If you’re only going to allow yourself to enjoy self-care when the stars align and everything is ideal, you could be waiting for a very long time.
Ideas to try out
Here are 15 ideas to try out. If these don’t do anything for you, no worries! Just because something is enjoyable for someone else doesn’t mean that it will be for you.
- buy or pick fresh flowers
- put together a “dancing on my own” playlist
- set the intention to create your favourite meals monthly
- enjoy dessert guilt-free
- Have a 30-second dance party (a la Grey’s Anatomy)
- dress up in an outfit that makes you feel beautiful (and take yourself out)
- read your favourite passages in a cherished book
- schedule a day to yourself with no set plans. See where the day takes you
- pick a new recipe to try from a favourite cookbook or online source
- make homemade ice cream in your favourite flavour
- go through your underwear drawer and throw out anything worn out or “frumpy”
- after dinner, instead of watching TV go out for a walk
- start your day with meditation or quiet time
- take a stack of post-it notes and write yourself positive messages to post in your home
- stare out a window at the moving clouds or leaves moving in the wind
As a child, I used to sit on the floor and colour in my colouring books on the coffee table most weekend mornings, if not throughout the day. I loved being able to make things whatever colours I wanted to, and the way I could so easily take something as boring as a blank page with a few outlines on it to a colourful one.
Now, I still love colouring, but I use the practice in a slightly different way. Check out the list of 5 Reasons to Add Colouring Books to your Self-Care Toolkit, below:
- There’s no multi-tasking
Unless you’re listening to music, it’s difficult to do anything at the same time as you’re colouring. This is a good thing! Colouring can exercise your “focus muscle”
- It’s just for you
You don’t need to share your colouring pages with anyone else.
- You can colour your own world
Make things whatever colour you want to.
- You get thinking time
Because it’s hard to multitask when you’re colouring, you get plenty of time to think through things.
- There’s active participation
Rather than watching TV, which is a pretty passive activity, colouring in a colouring book is much more active.
Trying out the self-care ideas above will allow you to know which ones you enjoy and which ones you don’t. Don’t be too “precious” with your self-care. Giving yourself the care or comfort you really need and are craving is the most important thing about self-care. After all, what’s the point of checking off things from someone else’s list? Make your own list of self-care that you enjoy!
I would LOVE to know what your favourite forms of self-care are! Leave me a comment below.