Self-care is not just a buzzword anymore. It is an important part of one’s life.
These days, many things can stress people out. In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the number one stressor for many people. The health and financial risks that came with the pandemic took a toll on people’s mental health. Also, working from home and working longer hours are making employees burn out more easily than before.
If done properly, your self-care routine will help you overcome stress and burnout. But not all practices that you see on social media can be considered self-care. Here are some things you might consider avoiding:
Don’t Just Follow Others’ Routines
Taking inspiration from the self-care routines of your friends or your favorite celebrities isn’t bad. But you need to make sure that you make certain adjustments so that your own self-care routine is tailored to you.
Your and other people’s needs differ. For example, two people may both enroll in a binge-eating disorder recovery program. But each person’s process will be different as they have different needs, even if they’re trying to overcome the same disorder. In the same way, what others may deem helpful to them may not have the same effect on you. For example, perhaps your friend’s self-care routine involves camping outdoors once a month. But if you’re not an outdoorsy person, this practice won’t benefit you.
When creating your self-care routine, consider what activities you like and which ones help you improve your mood.
Don’t Rely on Food
Food is a great source of comfort for many. You can get food you’re craving once in a while. But you should not rely on food as a form of self-care. If things go wrong, this can become self-harm.
The comfort that food brings is only temporary. If the effect wears out, you may pick up another meal to cheer yourself up. Eventually, this cycle won’t end. And you might damage your body in the long run.
Emotional eating can lead to health issues. For instance, it can lead to weight-related problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and so on. These issues can also impact your mental health. You may feel guilty. Your excess weight gain may also affect self-confidence.
The more appropriate way to use food as self-care is by eating healthy. Make sure that you have a balanced diet and that you avoid junk food as much as possible.
Don’t Turn to Alcohol
Many people use alcohol as a way to unwind and overcome stress. Even in films and TV shows, characters use alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine to cheer themselves up.
One might argue that drinking alcohol won’t damage their body, especially if they drink moderately. But this argument is flawed. But alcohol won’t really help you in the long run. Therefore, don’t use alcohol as a form of self-care.
One alcohol drink that is commonly attached to self-care is wine. Companies highlight how wine is a much healthier option over beer and hard liquor. Wine is noted to have antioxidants and be better for the heart than other alcoholic drinks. However, recent studies have shown that any alcoholic drink is not good for brain health, no matter how few you drink. Not to mention, alcohol consumption negatively affects your liver.
You can get the same benefits of alcoholic drinks through other drinks that are arguably much healthier, such as coffee and tea.
Don’t Spend So Much
In a capitalist society, buying yourself something nice can be a form of self-care. To some extent, retail therapy can make you feel better. But it’s not a sustainable way to care about yourself.
Spending on something every time you need to do some self-care will leave you financially strained. This can make you feel stressed, which will trigger a need to spend on something again. And the cycle goes on.
Thus, as much as possible, don’t rely on retail therapy in your self-care routine. There are many things you can do to improve your mood and unwind without spending money, such as exercise and meditation. If you really want to buy something, make sure that you set boundaries on how much you are allowed to spend and how often you can buy nonessentials as self-care.
Your approach to self-care will be different from others since it’s a very personal matter. Find out what works for you and avoid practices that may harm you in the long term.