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GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
young man practicing self care while working from home
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What to Do When Self-Care Feels Like Work

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Have you used a face mask this week? Did you attend that spinning class? How about booking that massage? Wait a minute, are you saying you didn’t meditate this morning? It seems you’re lacking in your self-care game. If you want to be happy, mindful, and healthy, you better get to work, your inner guru is not going to blossom if you don’t put in the work.

What?

Yes, many of us are feeling the pressure to put in some “me time” every day, and it’s starting to feel exhausting and very much like work. Suddenly, self-care starts looking more like self-sabotage. If all of this sounds too familiar for comfort, keep reading to learn how to enjoy self-care the way it was meant to be.

Move Past the Self-Care Culture

Before we can move any further, I need you to visualize something. All these crystal water bottles and smoothie powders to lift your spirit are mainstream self-care looking to monetize off your stress. While all of these are fun, exciting, and undoubtedly beautiful, they’re not needed for self-care.

When you feel the pressure to have any of these in your life, self-care gives you more anxiety, not relief. We must let go of toxic notions we’ve attributed to self-care, such as:

  • We must impress others by overextending ourselves – you know, “fake it until you make it.”
  • Zoning out in front of the TV and sleeping late is a form of self-care.
  • Engaging in retail therapy without caring for our budget.
  • Mindless snacking and eating foods that make us feel worse for the sake of self-care.

Sound familiar? Yes, these are all ways we tell ourselves we must practice self-care. But it goes beyond that; we’re seriously punishing ourselves for not hitting our “self-care goals.”

A study looked at the effects of wearing a fitness tracker. Most women reported the device made them feel guilty whenever they fell short of their goals. Around 79% felt pressured to reach their daily targets, a whopping 59% of them said they felt “controlled” by their devices, and almost 30% of them referred to their trackers as “an enemy.” Isn’t this the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here?

Revisit What Self-Care Means to YOU

You’ve probably read this before, but I’m going to repeat it: self-care means something different to everyone. For some, bubble baths and meditation sessions are the key to self-care. For others, it’s financial stability. For you, it may be exercise and eating a healthy diet. Whatever the case, you need to revisit what self-care means to you.

Besides that, you must realize this concept changes all the time. Instead of having one single self-care plan, have plenty of them, and change them accordingly. Create a self-care Rolodex if you must, and comb through it accordingly.

If you’re unsure where to start, here’s a quiz to find a self-care routine to match your personality.

Try Different Self-Care Methods

Try. Try. Try. Much like everything else related to mental health and wellness, self-care is all about trial and error until you find what works. Experiment with different self-care methods and approaches until you find your groove.

For example, I’ve tried every possible meditation app and style out there unsuccessfully. Meditation simply drives me crazy, and I almost feel I should shut my mouth as a wellness writer, but it’s true. Dancing, on the other hand, is my form of meditation. So instead of channeling my mantras, I work to get into the perfect fifth position to find myself and bring down my anxiety.

A Note from GR8NESS

Don’t let any product, self-care trend, or anyone (unless it’s a doctor) tell you what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to caring for yourself. This is an intimate and private journey. Yes, we’re in this fascinating journey together, but we’re all doing what feels right to each one of us, not our neighbor.

Next time your self-care routine feels like work, stop yourself and take a more in-depth look at what you’re genuinely doing.

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Geraldine
GR8NESS Writer
Geraldine is a GR8NESS Contributing Editor who writes about self care, clean makeup and beauty, mental health, and relationships – as well as natural remedies and fitness. She’s a coffee enthusiast with Venezuelan roots, a former ballerina, and the sunscreen patrol. Most of the time, you can find her working on her skincare routine or trying a new dance workout.
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