How NOT to Be a Jerk with Self-Care

How NOT to Be a Jerk with Self-Care

If you do self-care in a certain way, it can make you seem like a real asshat. The video below from our friends at College Humor offers up some giggle-worthy commentary about the ridiculousness of some self-care perspectives.

Check out the video for a laugh or two and be sure to read & comment on my re-cap of their points and why it matters.

You Can Be Terrible if You Call It “Self-Care”

Point #1: Self-care shouldn’t be about excuses.

Sure, sometimes we need to indulge or do things that might come across as “selfish” or “lazy” like: saying no to hanging out, hiding from your kids & eating their Halloween candy, or refusing to put on pants. Okay, some of those are actually probably selfish or lazy, but sometimes you can only do the small things to get through the day. Other times though, things that are seen as lazy or selfish are actually straight up, yes you guessed it, lazy and selfish. We need to be real with ourselves whether or not we’re using self-care as an excuse for not dealing with harder-to-do healthiness.

Point #2: Self-care shouldn’t be about pitting one aspect of self-care against the other.

You shouldn’t  consistently prioritize one aspect over the other. I’m a “feelings” person and I usually want to work on my emotional health vs. my physical health, but when I focus too much on my psychological state it can be counter-productive. When I flip what’s natural for me and go towards physical health my mental health improves too. And the opposite can be true – maybe you want to avoid feelings at all cost and just focus on getting physically healthier. Sure, physical health will improve your mental health, but eventually you’ll have to deal with all those messy mental/emotional pieces. It’s all inter-related and it’s a disservice to healthiness if you consistently pit one area of health against another.

Point #3: Self-care shouldn’t be about avoiding feelings

I think a lot of my best self-care work happens when I do the uncomfortable work of confronting how I feel or process something. Every time I’ve avoided this step I end up sicker. Of course you can’t be swimming in your feelings all day every day, but using “feel-good” self-care practices to avoid what’s really going on with you is BS.

Point #4: Self-care shouldn’t exist in a bubble.

We need to engage in the world. Why?

  1. Being ignorant to things will never truly help our health. We need to understand and acknowledge that while there’s a lot of power in what we can do for our own health —  there’s also a lot of cultural and policy issues that have a major impact on our health or our ability to best manage our health. We need to be honest about this reality and be strategic with it.
  2. Compassion and connection are damn good for our health.  While science shows that compassion and being social helps boost our well-being, connection to others also helps us get real with ourselves.  We need honest friends to do a reality check for us.

Why does this matter?

The video exaggerates, of course, unhealthy self-care practices, but there’s enough Instagram self-care posts so annoyingly pretentious and fake that I practically sprain my eyeballs from the amount of eye-rolling I do when I see them.

Self-care at its best is down-to-earth and real in its acknowledgment of the complexities in making positive change happen. When we consistently make self-care look too pretty or easy or fun, it makes self-care feel less real and in the end less meaningful.

That’s a dangerous scenario when it comes to our health. We deserve better. Let’s learn to embrace the beautiful messiness of self-care.

Challenge of the week: Where are you lacking in meaning or challenge in your self-care practice? Or where are you phoning it in when it comes to your health?

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