Something that's cool about everything about xoNecole — from the xoTribe of writers to our fabulous readers — is we are all individuals and aren't short of having different opinions about, well, everything.
But if there's one thing I think we can all agree on, it's the fact that self-care shouldn't be treated like a trending topic that we read on our favorite websites. Self-care should be an absolutely non-negotiable necessity. There are a billion reasons why, but the one that tops the list is if we don't take good and consistent care of ourselves, how can we possibly do that for anyone else? (That's not a rhetorical question, by the way. The answer is we can't.)
But like just about everything else in life, in order for self-care to be its most effective, we need to create the kind of regimen and routine that works for us exclusively. Otherwise, even if our intent is to take good care of ourselves, our so-called self-care plan could actually end up doing more harm than good.
How could you possibly be approaching self-care in a way that is literally working against you? You might be surprised.
You’re Going Way Over Budget
A spa day is great. You know what else is awesome? Having electricity in your house. If whatever you're doing in the name of self-care is causing you to be impulsive with your money or even reckless with your time, it's something you need to be making some serious adjustments to.
For instance, I know someone who is constantly telling me that she is fine without having a self-care routine in her life. Oh, but let her boss piss her off on Monday and she's spending $200 she doesn't have on a massage that following Thursday. While that might be releasing some physical stress, it's only adding to her financial stress.
Good self-care takes care of all areas of our lives.
The lesson here — if your self-care routine doesn't have a budget, it's time to create one. Oh, and if you know you spend more on spa days than you should, sites like RetailMeNot have lots of spa-related promo codes that can take some of the financial pressure off.
You’re Doing What’s Trendy Instead Of What Actually Works (For You)
Everything has trends, including self-care. In 2019, some of them include workout bands, goat's milk soap, Ayurveda, organic wine, and ginger oil. All of that is cool but I really like the sulfur soap that I use and sweet almond oil is one of my best friends on the planet. So what if they're not trending? They work for me.
Trying new things is how we grow but you'll never settle into what works for you if you're constantly reading what's popular in the media world (or even if you're always listening to what your friends think you should be doing). Case in point. I've got a friend who does nothing more than take an hour-long bubble bath and drink wine while she's in it since I've known her. But that works for her. And that's great.
Self-care trends don't work for everyone because each of us is unique. It's fine to research what's hot but it's also OK to reject it because when it comes to what works for you, they're…not.
(By the way, if you're looking for some self-care inspiration, download "100+ Resources Every Woman Needs to Live Her Best Life" over at BeFreeProject.com.)
You Aren’t Paying Attention to the Different Categories of Self-Care
Speaking of trends, a part of the reason why a lot of us tend to focus on only the physical aspect of self-care is because that's what the media talks a lot about. But if you want to be thorough in your self-care approach, it's important to do what's not only good for your body but your mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and even professional well-being too.
A form of mental self-care is going on a social media fast or spending a weekend doing nothing but chilling on the couch at home.
A form of emotional self-care is setting boundaries in your relationships or writing down 10 things you like about yourself (and posting them on your bathroom mirror).
A form of spiritual self-care is meditating in the mornings or volunteering at a local non-profit.
A form of psychological self-care is using a therapist to deal with an unhealed wound(s) or getting a life coach to help you to put certain things in order.
A form of professional self-care is decorating your work space or getting the assistance of a recruiter in order to find a job that's a better fit for you.
Out of all of the ways that self-care routines can backfire, paying attention to only one kind of self-care is probably the biggest.
It Feels Less Like Fun and More Like an Obligation
I'll be honest. When you first start implementing a self-care regimen into your life, it might seem a little like work. Some of us are so used to doing anything and everything but taking care of ourselves that it can feel foreign. But after three months or so, if you're not actually looking forward to your self-care practices, that's a red flag.
Me? I am an essential oils and herbs junkie. What I don't like is, people I don't know rubbing on me. I have friends who can't imagine life without massages, so they would send me massage certificates. I finally had to tell them that while I was grateful for the thought, I didn't really like to get touched on by strangers. I know. Some of y'all just read that and think that I am totally insane. But that's kind of my point.
The only thing that's a one-size-fits-all reality about self-care is we all need it.
But if whatever we're doing is not fun and relaxing, we need to be doing something else.
You’re Not Being Consistent
Really. What's the point in getting your nails or eyebrows done if you're only going to do it once in a blue moon? Inconsistent self-care not only keeps you from looking and feeling your best, but it also conveys the message to your mind that you're not important enough to make yourself a priority.
One of my consistent self-care routines is I'm a traditional Sabbath-observer. My friends and clients know that from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, I'm off of the grid. Because I use that 24-hour window of time to really rest, each and every week, it makes dealing with the stressors that come up afterward so much easier. I can't imagine what my tolerance level would be like without consistently implementing the Sabbath into my life.
When it comes to being a self-care master, consistency is definitely key. Take care of you, consistently. That's the only way self-care truly works.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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