Self-Care sucks. It’s just difficult dammit. There I said it. I know it’s important and sometimes it’s relaxing or fun, but can we be honest and just admit a lot of really good, important self-care is messy and hard and something that can be easier to avoid? I mean, exercise, eating healthy, healthy boundaries, dealing with all the emotional junk you gather through life – c’mon that’s tough!
Some days I just want to tell the idea of “self-care” to go suck it. I’m too busy or tired or angry. Or I’m “not in the mood” to do what’s healthy or I’m irritated by the very idea of self-care because it can feel so ridiculous or extravagant for who I am and the life I lead and the baggage I haul around everywhere. I’m not a fancypants supermodel, y’all! (I don’t know why I wrote that – I’ve never said y’all in real life – but some kind of character suddenly inhabited me for a second).
I can feel a little resentful because self-care feels like a good thing that I don’t have the ability or means to grasp often. (Disclaimer: I know that I have a lot of privilege that others may not have. I want to be upfront about that and at the same time be real with the struggles I face.)
Self-care seems like an easy thing to do as a concept, but if taking care of ourselves in a proactive way was really that easy our country wouldn’t be faced with staggering statistics of early deaths due to preventable diseases/situations.
So here it is …
Top 10 Reasons Self-Care Sucks (Or is just plain difficult)
When Feelings Get in the Way:
10. Guilt. Even the smallest self-care practices that are feasible for most can feel daunting. Many people (women especially) are so used to taking care of others that when we take time for ourselves guilt-ridden thoughts can run rampant. “I shouldn’t be “wasting” time on this. I could be doing X, Y, Z.”
9. Shame. This one is so closely related to guilt, but shame is more about feeling like you aren’t living up to cultural standards. Some self-care practices can bring up shame for people – I know I have felt shame trying new things that butted up against my deeply entrenched insecurities (ex. body image issues) even when I know it’s the healthier thing to do.
8. Anger. Sometimes I’ve just felt too angry about life that the idea of self-care seems ridiculous. Offensive almost. And it just angers me more. It’s not the healthiest place to be, but it’s a real one.
When Identities Get in the Way:
7. Limited idea of what’s “self-care”. Real self-care is more than facial masks and essential oil. It’s comprehensive, culturally relevant, and unique to each person. And it doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time. There are many different ways to approach it. A lot of times there is a branding of self-care as a very specific thing for a specific demographic. That is crap. No one owns self-care or preventive health practices.
6. You don’t feel like it’s “you”. And so if you’ve been fed this self-care lie, self-care may not seem like a thing for you or maybe you’ve never even heard of it before. But self-care is for everyone. That’s a big part of what this blog is all about.
5. Glorification of being busy. We live in a culture that celebrates industry and being busy. That can be a good thing, but it can also make you sick and unhappy. Cultural messages of busy = important can be at direct odds with self-care.
When Logistics Get in the Way:
4. Feasibility: How possible is it for you to practice solid self-care if money, time, social supports, and accessibility to services is limited?
3. Not being supported. Let’s say you got the feasibility aspect covered and you’re not feeling guilty at all, but wait a hot second. Suddenly you got haters all up in your good-vibe self-care city. There’s the classic direct judgment, but then there’s the fun little cousin of passive-aggressive commentary.
2. Stuck in a rut/Lack of Motivation. Sometimes the stress of real life is overwhelming. Sometimes life is calm, but a routine develops and creates a rut/funk to occur. It can be tough to break out of either of these cycles, especially when some habits drive you deeper into unhealthy choices. For example, I do this thing where I’ll give myself a little “treat” (usually junk food) when I’m stressed or bored, but then I do it too much and before I know it I’m feeling worse and even less motivated. I also do with taking time away from people and before I know it, I’ve isolated myself.
- It can be uncomfortable and a lot of work. The most powerful forms of self-care are when you get real with yourself and that is often uncomfortable. Knowing what habits work (or don’t) for you and why is important. Besides that, some self-care habits be hard work and not so fun to do (ugh, exercise is so good, but it’s hard for me to get motivated.)
This list is by no means exhaustive or true for everyone, but it’s the kind of struggles I (or those close to me) face.
What’s your biggest challenge in making real self-care a reality? Let’s get real and admit #selfcaresucks… but we still need it and we can make it suck less.