If you’ve spent any time on Instagram or Facebook during the past couple of years, then you’re undoubtedly aware of the “self-care” trend so popular among celebs, influencers, and those who like to stay on top of what’s new and buzzworthy.
Because we often find ourselves scrolling through photos of Kylie Jenner’s “self-care” spending sprees or the newest Insta star’s elaborate spa treatments, it’s easy to assume that self-care isn’t an essential priority for “regular” people, and plenty of myths circulate around the concept to back up that interpretation. But because we’re believers in self-care here at Fairygodboss, we’d like to take this opportunity to disprove nine of the most common misunderstandings and explain why self-care comes in many forms and can benefit absolutely anyone.
1. Taking a vacation is an easy cure for burnout.
Self-care is often presented as a quick fix-it for larger problems, which breeds frustration and unrealistic expectations. A prime example? The notion that career burnout can be easily solved by taking a week-long vacation. This surprisingly-popular idea puts far too much pressure on said vacation, and, as Quartz explains in a recent article, “if you’re suffering from chronic stress at your job most weeks of the year, finding occasional respite at a beachside location or an urban oasis simply won’t balance out all the bad stuff.” By all means, take full advantage of your PTO and enjoy your vacations, but don’t expect them to be a cure-all for your work-related problems.
2. It’s selfish to focus on self-care.
Objections to the concept of self-care often involve a hesitation to come across as “selfish”. Those who take this point of view assume that “free time” should automatically translate to “time to do things for others, not for myself”. What they’re missing here is the fact that, by investing time and energy in pursuits and activities that bring you joy and comfort, you’re making yourself a more well-rested, present, and engaged person, for both your own benefit and for those who care about you.
3. Self-care is a privilege only available to the affluent.
If “self-care” feels like a total social-media buzzword to you, you may assume that you need to pay for pricey spa days or lavish beach vacations to the Greek Islands in order to partake. In truth, self-care can involve anything that makes you feel relaxed, healthy, and balanced. Simple activities like a walk through your neighborhood, a brief catnap, or a long bubble bath all qualify as self-care, and they don’t require you to drop hundreds of dollars.
4. People with children and family responsibilities can’t prioritize self-care.
As we mentioned previously, self-care isn’t a completely selfish pursuit. That remains true if you’re a parent or a caretaker; you’re not taking anything away from your kids and loved ones if you take a few moments to check in with yourself and do something that improves your mood and state of mind. In fact, you’re giving them a happier version of yourself, which is an unambiguous positive.
5. Self-care routines are inflexible and time consuming.
We’ve all heard of long-winded self-care routines, like multi-step skincare regimens and 90-minute yoga sessions on a daily basis. But if you don’t have that kind of time to spend, you can still find a self-care activity that makes sense for your schedule and your needs. And if your schedule and your needs change, so can your self-care routine. Feel free to change things up whenever necessary!
6. Anything that takes the edge off qualifies as “self-care."
Self-care centers around soothing behaviors that help you focus your thoughts, and it also places a premium on your physical health. That’s why certain “unwinding” behaviors, like drinking heavily, don’t qualify as self-care. A holistic view is crucial here; self-care should serve your wellbeing as a whole, and drinking to calm your mind at the expense of your body doesn’t fulfill that need.
7. People only need self-care if they “have a problem”.
Self-care should be an essential need for everyone, regardless of lifestyle or mental state. You don’t have a “problem” because you’re interested in exploring self-care tactics; on the contrary, you’re making a valuable commitment to your wellness.
8. Self-care doesn’t count unless it’s documented on social media.
The popularity of self-care documentation among influencers can make it easy to assume that your methods of looking after yourself don’t “count” unless you’re posting about them on Instagram, complete with perfectly-filtered photos. But self-care is about what makes you happy and soothed, not about outside expectations. If you’re not a social-media maven, you don’t need to fake it to do self-care “right”.
9. Self-care isn’t necessary for a happy and successful life.
The bottom line: self-care isn’t optional. You can and should adjust your methods and find self-care options that fit your lifestyle, but deciding that your personal wellness isn’t important will negatively affect every aspect of your life. Embrace the need to take care of yourself; it’s an important priority, and it should be treated like one.