Exposing The Top 5 Myths About Self-Care
Self Care: The art of taking care of yourself
What is self-care? In plain, simple terms, anything you do to take care of your mental, physical, and emotional health is self-care. There are no hard and fast rules here. Any action that positively impacts a person’s happiness and well-being and good feelings come under self-care. It is all about finding balance in an overstimulated world, sorting one’s priorities, and ensuring that one’s basic needs are fulfilled.
So, does that mean a person who indulges in self-care is selfish? No! In the current scenario where depression, anxiety, and other mental issues are becoming increasingly common, individual well-being is a priceless possession. And it can only be made possible with self-care.
One basic rule for self-care: It should be enjoyable and constructive, but NOT addictive and destructive. It should be an action that supports your entire well-being and influences you to become a better person.
Despite being easy to understand, the theory of “self-care is riddled with silly myths and misconceptions. Our blog attempts to debunk some of the most common myths and explain the truth behind them.
Debunking the top 11 myths about self-care
Myth 1: Self-care is a selfish indulgence.
Truth: Many people perceive self-care as a synonym of ‘selfish.’ To take good care of others, you need to take good care of yourself. “Me Time” is as important as a regular health checkup or a regular workout. The time invested in one’s wellness is the time one gains to invest in ensuring others’ wellbeing and health. Hence, taking care of our happiness in whatever possible way CANNOT be termed selfish. Instead, self-care improves “self-love,” which prepares the person to be wholly engaged in supporting or helping others in need.
Myth 2: Self-care is exclusively for women.
Truth: It is for everyone. There are no gender-biased rules in self-care. Every person needs to look after his/her well-being. This myth could have stemmed from the fact that women invest more time and interest in self-care. But in no way does that mean men are excluded from it. All self-care routines are easily applicable for both genders. However, in men, the tendency to neglect themselves is quite common. So, they need to focus a lot more.
Myth 3: Self-care doesn’t have any benefits. It is an excuse to pamper oneself.
Truth: Self-care activities have long-term benefits that show improved overall health and wellness. Most self-care activities are aimed at reducing stress levels. Stress is the biggest culprit behind many mental and physical ailments such as heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, cancer, depression, and anxiety. Taking time off for self-care helps abundantly bring down stress levels, improve self-confidence, lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, and relax.
Myth 4: Self-care is expensive.
Truth: Not at all. It is one of the most common misconceptions because some people tend to tie self-care with the images of luxurious spas, expensive workout equipment, and exotic food and flowers. The truth is that none of these things matter if they cannot give you happiness. Self-care is simple to practice and can be done with whatever is available at home. A simple walk on the terrace, an hour of gardening, spending time with pets, listening to music, a bit of meditation, or even a long relaxing shower can make a big difference. Striving to have a healthy relationship with family and friends is also an act of self-care. Self-care should be simple, affordable, and accessible for everyone.
Myth 5: Self-care is time-consuming.
Truth: There is no fixed schedule for self-care. It can mean anything from a five-minute meditation to an hour-long session of yoga or Pilates. For some, a few minutes with a cup of coffee or a 45-minute pedicure can have the same soothing, calming effect. The time doesn’t matter. What matters is how the action makes a difference to the person’s happiness.
Myth 6: Self-care is a cure for mental issues.
Truth: No, it is not a cure. Self-care is a personal choice, and its positive effects on one’s mental well-being are unquestionable. But it is not a cure for any mental illness. A jog or a walk cannot magically cure depression. Having a piece of delicious cake cannot be the solution for grieving the loss of a loved one. A marathon baking session cannot wipe away the anxiety and fear of the pandemic. In a nutshell, self-care is not a medical cure.
Myth 7: Self-care is only optional.
No, it is a necessity. Sometimes, you need to stop, take a break, and look after yourself, no matter how crazy things are around you. Restricting self-nurture is unhealthy because the longer you delay it, the more forcefully it will elbow its way into your life. Forced self-care often will manifest in forms that feel far from actual self-care, such as overeating and depression.
When you find yourself turning to these kinds of habits, ask yourself what you're trying to accomplish. Put yourself in a position of choice rather than hiding behind these backdoor behaviours.
Myth 8: Self-care is all about caring only about your mental wellness.
This is one of the biggest self-care myths. There are many facets that make "you." You are a complete package that comprises your mental, emotional, physical, practical, spiritual, social, and intellectual needs. Caring about yourself means taking care of all these needs to feel a sense of balanced well-being.
Myth 9: Self-care delivers only temporary benefits.
Wrong. Caring for yourself can go a long, long way. Indulging in healthy habits stimulates your brain's feel-good hormones, which reward you by enhancing the feel-good effect for a long, long time! That is why you wear a happy, radiant glow after indulging yourself in something you truly love, like a vacation, shopping, or even an hour's workout.
Myth 10 : Self-care has short-term effects.
Going for a stroll or having a massage has short-term effects. These are not real self-care. True self-care helps you unwind, rejuvenate, and recharge your body and mind. Taking the time to be mindful during self-care activities will help you get the most out of them.
Myth 11: Self-care practices are the same for everyone.
Each of us has our own unique emotional and physical characteristics. Likewise, we handle challenges and hardships differently. How we react to situations and unwind and recharge ourselves also varies from person to person. Some may find relaxation by going for a jog, walk, or swimming, while others may want to spend time with family or friends. And there are others who need no more than a nap.
In short, there is no one-size-fits-all with self-care. It is different for each person.
Also Read: Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Older Adults
Simple tips to ensure your health and happiness
Being mindful of your own needs is a gift you give unto yourself. Putting yourself first is the basic step for self-care. We need to do just a few things every day to ensure our health and happiness, and these actions do not involve any expenses. The trick is to do them with dedication and make them a part of your routine. So, here we go!
Create a “no-gadget” time at least once every day
Technology has almost become indispensable in our lives. However, it does well to detach yourself from gadgets and devices once in a while. Here are some simple tips for implementing the “no-gadget time”:
- Opt for a simple alarm clock instead of setting the alarm on the phone.
- Read a book instead of browsing your phone before bedtime.
- Avoid checking the messages and talk to friends and family instead.
Stay hydrated throughout the day
Do not miss out on meals
Do not skimp on laughter
Self-Care in The Digital Era
Life is full of paradoxes and contradictions, and there are a few contradictions that are both interesting and puzzling. One such incomprehensible relationship is that between technology and self-care.
While we are talking about the no-gadget times, it is important to note that we just cannot stay away from technology. In fact, technology has a role to play in transforming the way we relax and indulge in self-care.
For instance, healthcare apps give you the ability to monitor and track your health parameters so that you know a problem before it gets serious. There are several mindfulness apps that can help you with guided meditation sessions or offer a visualization for your breathing exercises. For some, it gets really hard to follow a self-care routine. Regular reminders on your smart devices can help you bring a routine, or better still, pick up those apps that remind you of your “me-time”. Did you know? There are habit trackers that empower you to have a healthy routine.
Bottomline – technology is not really inherently harmful. But it does a lot of good to have periodic check-ins to leverage technology to help stay healthy and happy.
Self-care: Simple changes for a better YOU
Self-care is a relatively new concept in verbal terms. At any given moment, anyone around the globe could be unknowingly indulging in self-care practices. But experts state that the current scenario calls for conscious efforts in self-care. Mental disorders are on the rise, and depression is now as common as the common cold. In addition, stress and sedentary lifestyles are taking a toll on the physical health of people all over the world. Adding to our woes, the pandemic has made life tenuous and unpredictable. Let us take a look at some of the worldwide statistics:
- 1 in 4 people has a mental illness at some stage of their life.
- Over 80% of adolescents are not physically active.
- 264 million people from all across the globe go through depression.
- 35% of people constantly feel stressed many times a day.
And, that is exactly why it is time to take care of our well-being in every way possible. Even the simplest actions can have a major impact on our lives. So, let us start making a conscious effort to embrace self-care as a part of our lives.
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