Intentional living: 6 mistakes to avoid when practicing self-care
Self-care seems simple right? We talk about self-care with our friends. We encourage others to prioritize self-care. Plus, many of us would agree we should have a regular practice of self-care.
If we agree we should prioritize self-care, why is it so hard for us to do it?
Self-care is an important topic for a good reason. Self-care is actions, habits, and routines that help you be the healthiest version of yourself. We recognize no matter what season we are in, it’s essential to create patterns and habits that help us build a life of wholeness.
Proper self-care helps to decrease stress and anxiety, can improve our physical well-being and overall health. We can build healthier relationships, have increased focus, and improved productivity.
Even with the best of intentions, do you ever feel like you are not getting the most out of your self-care routine?
It’s easy to make mistakes with your self-care routine these days, especially when you were not taught how to create a self-care routine that is effective and healthy.
That’s why we are going to go there today.
Let’s talk about 6 simple mistakes you are making with your self-care routine and what you can do to improve.
Self-care mistake #1: You don’t really have a routine.
One mistake many women make with self-care is not actually having a routine. Often women simply pick a few activities here and there, usually reactive to a stressful day. We feel the need to do self-care because we are stressed out or frustrated to do anything else. Feeling the need to engage in self-care activities is one thing, but creating a healthy self-care routine is entirely different. We don’t plan to have self-care in our daily routine.
When we implement self-care effectively, we are taking daily steps to become the healthiest version of ourselves. Effective self-care overflows into our daily routines, our habits, and our mindsets. We take time to intentionally place self-care in our day just as we would paying our bills, taking the kids to school, or going to work. Whatever we value, we prioritize.
Tip: Read 3 ways to create a self-care routine to help you build a self-care routine that works for you. Identify what types of self-care do you want to include in your daily routine. How do you plan to safeguard your routine?
Self-care mistake #2: You are putting self-care last on your list.
One mistake many women make with self-care is putting it last on your list. I know we hear it all the time: Self-care is not selfish. If we believe self-care is not selfish, why do many women put self-care last on their list? Unfortunately, we treat self-care as a reward for working hard, taking care of our children, or merely making it through the day. Take care of yourself should be top on the list instead of an afterthought once you have nothing left to give.
Neglecting your self-care doesn’t make you a superwoman; it makes you a worn-out woman.Tweet
Neglecting your self-care doesn’t make you a superwoman; it makes you a worn-out woman. You cannot operate at your best when you ignore or put off your well-being. Instead of showing up as your vibrant, beautiful self, you show up an empty shell merely surviving. If you want to move toward healing and wholeness, you choose to be intentional in taking care of your personal needs. So kick your excuses to the curb and take care of yourself.
Tip: Use a self-care planner or a self-care journal to prioritize self-care as a regular part of your day.
Self-care mistake #3: You are not adjusting your self-care practice for your season of life
Another mistake we make with our self-care routines is not adjusting for our current season of life. What you need to take care of yourself when you start a new job may not be what you need when you have a newborn or what you need as a caregiver to your parent. As your responsibilities change and you mature, what you need to include in your self-care routine may shift, too, and that’s OK.
In different seasons, self-care may look like attending a small group, going to therapy, taking a walk, or saying “no.” Maybe it’s connecting with a writer’s group or creating new routines to adjusting to a new work environment. Give yourself grace and permission to do something new, if needed. Learning how to pivot will help give you space to flourish in any season.
Tip: Take time to reflect on what is your current season. Identify what you need to include in your self-care plan. Remember what you need in a self-care plan is not always the same as what you want in a self-care plan.
Self-care mistake #4: You are doing too much for proper self-care.
When practicing self-care, it is tempting to want to do all the things. You get inspired, or maybe you recognize you need a change in your life, so you decide to all the activities on your self-care list. The problem with trying too many self-care activities is the inability to maintain it. Instead of staying motivated to keep a healthy self-care routine, you will become overwhelmed and burnt out. You end up doing more harm than good.
When building a positive self-care routine, you want to choose sustainable activities. Choose to add one self-care activity at a time based on what you need. Once you have created a self-care practice you can maintain, then consider adding more. Remember, self-care is more than checking off items on your to-do list. Take your time and go slow.
Tip: Prioritize one self-care activity you can do each day.
Self-care mistake #5: You are not consistent with your self-care routine.
If you want to see if you have a sustainable, healthy self-care routine, check how you maintain your routine when life changes. When creating a self-care routine, it’s easy to keep it up at first. You are excited and feel the need to prioritize self-care. But when life happens, what happens to that plan? You skip one day and then another. Before you know it, you have ignored your self-care routine.
Self-care requires intentionality. You must be willing to commit to prioritizing self-care regularly. Many self-care activities don’t need a lot of your time or even a lot of money. But proper self-care does require the cost of your time. You decide if taking care of yourself is worth your time.
Tips: Put one self-care activity on your schedule every day. Block off time in your day and use a timer. Identify when you are more likely to get off track with your self-care routine. Create a plan to help you stay on track during those times. Sustainable change happens over time.
Self-care mistake #6: You have an unhealthy self-care plan.
Not all self-care ideas are good for you. For many, self-care has become a buzzword to excuse unhealthy spending habits, poor eating habits, negative relationships with alcohol, or doing anything you want without any of the consequences. Self-care is about taking care of yourself so that you can become the healthiest version of yourself. Self-care is about care, not harm.
Self-care is about care, not harm.Tweet
Proper self-care is often doing what is uncomfortable so you can become whole. You may want to prioritize spending money for pedicures but maybe what you need is using the money for a therapist. It may feel uncomfortable at the moment, but the impact is lasting. Perhaps you allow some activities to distract you from doing the messy work needed to heal and grow. Sure, some self-care ideas help relieve momentary stress, but they don’t address the deeper root of what is causing you stress. Remember, what you need in a self-care plan isn’t always what you want.
Tip: Ask yourself if what you are doing helps you take a step toward healing or simply soothing you at the moment? What are the deeper reasons for stress and anxiety in your life? Consider what support you may need to make healthier self-care choices.
Take time to regularly reflect on the effectiveness of your self-care routine and be willing to adjust. We can make these self-care mistakes if we are not reflective and intentional.
Cheering you on,