In today’s modern society, people tend to throw around the term “self-care” loosely. Unfortunately, despite the push in this area, very few successfully implement effective self-care practices. So maybe it is time to pause and reflect on some common pitfalls of ineffective self-care and discover the best ways to care for yourself during recovery.
Avoiding Common Self-Care Pitfalls
Self-care has become a buzzword on social media, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Most self-care tips offer quick fixes for people to cope with mental health issues. However, we all know that none of the most common mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are skin-deep wounds. They can’t be fixed with a face mask or a one-time meditation session.
The first common self-care pitfall is only going through the motions with new techniques, such as drinking more water, staying active, getting in a warm bubble bath, and trying new yoga poses. Unfortunately, these quick-fix trends promote temporary pampering rather than getting to the root of complex mental health problems.
A related mistake of self-care is using these activities to heal clinical mental illnesses without getting an assessment or therapy with licensed mental health specialists. Holistic methods such as yoga and mindfulness meditation are helpful but alone will not heal you from depression and anxiety. If you are experiencing severe or lingering mental health problems, it is best to begin with, clinical care and supplement with holistic self-care techniques.
A third pitfall of quick-fix self-care tips is that they do not explain the rationale enough. People might try one method for a few weeks, then switch to something new. There is no emphasis on self-discipline or routine. Instead, self-pampering is the core of these messages.
The Importance of Authentic Self-Care Practices
This is not to say that “self-care” should be abandoned. Quite the contrary, we need to focus more on finding the true definition of self-care and effective ways to implement it. First and foremost, self-care is founded on the integrity and dignity of one’s personhood, a key dimension to full recovery. Whether through yoga or bubble bath, connecting with and finding yourself is the starting point.
Allow this need to connect with yourself to become the cornerstone of your self-care practice. With all the distractions and busyness, set a time each day to ground yourself in the reality of authentic self-love and self-affirmation. In this sense, self-care is a must for every human being.
Read on to discover five tips to make your self-care habits more effective.
Tip #1: You Do Not Have to Practice Self-Care on Your Own
Most people think of self-care as having time to themselves. However, most lone self-care practices do not last before they become your rational routine. Absorbing yourself in a narrow-minded consumeristic culture may do more harm than good. Lone self-care should never replace being part of a support group.
Working with a licensed and experienced therapist to work through your mental health issues is a necessary form of practicing self-care. Joining a peer support group is equally important. Furthermore, make sure that you fully participate so that you can enjoy the most health benefits. If you only begin these sessions out of obligation, you may not be truly caring for yourself.
Tip #2: Understand the Nature or Deep Cause of Your Issues
Self-care is only as effective as it is personalized. What works for someone else might not work for you because everyone has different backgrounds, sources of stress, and mental health journeys. Sometimes, digging deep into what you need for healing can be difficult because you may have to evaluate past trauma. Therefore, authentic self-care needs to be trauma-informed.
Working through your issues takes both courage and hard work. You also need to rely on experts for help. This requires honesty and humility. Unfortunately, shallow self-care can be a veil for denial of real issues. Once you understand what lies behind your mental health issues, you can be motivated to practice deep, inside-out lifestyle change.
Tip #3: Recognize and Dismantle Guilt and Shame
If you practice self-care out of guilt or shame, it will not last. You need to deal with these negative emotions toward yourself first. Authentic self-care needs to begin with self-compassion and self-acceptance. In this sense, dismantling guilt and shame is the quickest way to true self-care.
Tip #4: Avoid Overcompensating
Sometimes overdoing self-care or over-compensating in this area can become another source of stress. Common examples are luxurious treats to oneself, self-indulgence, and over-excising while being mindless about these practices. Even good things need to be taken in moderation. Shallow self-care habits can become time-consuming and expensive without any return. For example, regular exercise is good, but working out too much may not be healthy.
Tip #5: Lifestyle Change Takes Time
Maintaining personal hygiene, finding time for gym workouts, preparing healthy meals, and getting enough sleep can be tedious and require hard work. These activities take time to become part of a lifestyle you enjoy living. You also need to be clear about why these lifestyle modifications make sense and why it is the best way to live. Then you need a realistic plan to get there. Rushing things or perfectionism will only set you up for disappointment.
Self-care techniques are life skills that take time to learn and integrate effectively into everyday life. Allow yourself time to get used to your new lifestyle, and don’t get discouraged when you don’t see results immediately.
When you are in recovery, you must learn effective self-care techniques. Given the widespread misconceptions and myths about self-care, you may need to work with a team of recovery experts to master authentic self-care skills that prevent relapses. Laguna Shores Recovery helps you become an expert in authentic self-care methods. Here, you will find that our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of positive support networks. Whether you need to distance yourself from unhealthy habits or relearn self-care methods for success, we can help. We integrate clinical and holistic healing methods. Call (866) 229-9923 to discover how you can be part of our strong recovery community that values effective and authentic self-care.