What can you do when you “fail” at self- care?

What can you do when you “fail” at self- care?

The term “self – care” has been taking the internet by storm in the last few years, with people slowly recognizing the need to put themselves first and learning the importance of taking a break from today’s fast paced life. Self – care is essentially taking care of yourself like you would look after someone you love, and being intentional while looking after your mental, physical and emotional well- being. More importantly, you cannot show up as your best self for others if you cannot be the best for yourself first. Research also proves that self – care, when undertaken effectively, helps to reduce stress, and improve physical and mental health, thereby allowing us to tap into a better version of ourselves and maximize our potential every day. However, the fact of the matter is that indulging in self- care is never easy. While social media announces it to be days off from work, having a relaxing bath, and meditating and journal, almost as though it fits into an aesthetic, not everyone truly feels cared for by doing these things. Today, numerous people find it difficult to relax into meditation or even sit through it to begin with, not everyone is able to afford expensive things under the excuse of ‘taking care of themselves’ and most people cannot schedule their dreams and goals into a to-do list to feel accomplished. This is exactly where the problem begins – instead of proving to be an activity to regulate emotional health, being unable to practice self – care in this romanticized notion makes most people feel more helpless and running low on all the optimism and hope that they started the activity out with in the first place. People begin to feel like a ‘failure’ when they are unable to gain the joy and satisfaction that these activities claim to provide, and it becomes a counterproductive cycle which leaves them feeling absolutely discouraged.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to push through the lows and build a self- care regimen that works for you:

Good things take time

Transformation is never pretty, and most definitely not all rainbow’s and butterflies. Self- care is not an overnight amendment of your life condition and can even be quite messy at times as you try to get yourself in order, shape or routine. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and taking care of your mind and body can actually be a very enriching experience in the long run. It is futile to expect yourself to feel better or more energized after applying a face mask once or following a ten-minute workout routine, no matter how great that sounds. That being said, it is imperative to drop our towering expectations and take each day as it comes while remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so it is delusory that your life will magically be fixed by putting effort into something one time. What is fundamental is that you stay consistent because personal growth can only be measured in retrospect.

Self- care looks different for everyone

While the world has started viewing the entire concept with rose- coloured glasses, it is important to remember that self- care is a personal activity, thereby making it manifest differently for everyone. What might work for you might not work for me and vice versa. It is crucial to get the idea out of your head that it only constitutes of certain activities and if you are not doing any of those then you have got it all wrong and are not taking care of yourself. This is especially important for people with mental health conditions like depression or even those who are working round the clock. These individuals may even find it difficult to get out of bed at times or even spare a few minutes to indulge in something they like to do. For them, going on a shopping spree or taking a vacation seems unrealistic. It is in times like these that it is important to remember that every small step towards a more productive, happy life based on a conscious and intentional routine, even as small as calling a friend when you have been isolating yourself or going for a walk in nature when you haven’t found the time to leave your house in a week is equally important and rewarding. Self- care doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate and can even be as simple as catching and adapting your maladaptive thinking or eating habits.

It is okay to fail:

As humans it is absolutely normal, natural even to fall out of routine. It is improbable to succeed at everything you try to do. In the same way, treat yourself with kindness when you fail to carry out your regimen for a day or even a few days, because there’s always scope to get back on track. Sometimes, more urgent concerns or pressing matters way take precedence, and since we cannot plan every aspect of our lives, it is best to go with the flow without having a rigid schedule. There is no need to beat yourself up or try to make up for that lost time because it would only defeat the purpose. Instead, re-determine and try again, because it will be worth it. Self- care activities should ultimately be suited to your best needs and resources and entail anything that brings you inner peace. The journey to treat your mind and body with love is yours alone, and it’s never too late to begin again!

About the Author

Nishtha Gugnani
Postgraduate Student in Clinical Psychology.

A postgraduate student with a demonstrated history of working with mental health organisations and in clinical setups. With a thorough foundational ed

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