What do you think of when you hear the phrase “self-care”? It can mean something different to each individual person as not everyone has the same needs or interests. However, self-care is important for everyone, whether you have a mental illness diagnosis or not. Studies have shown the effectiveness of showing yourself the love and attention you deserve. Self-care is also something trending in the media right now, so people are aware of it, but there are still myths surrounding it. I hope to shed some light on my experience with these myths.
The following information is not to be used as medical advice, as I am not a healthcare professional. I am simply writing from my own experiences. What has worked and been true to me, may not work for someone else.
There are many myths surrounding self-care that prevent many from partaking in it and these myths can come from various sources. I am going to focus on the four most common myths and what about them is untrue.
To start off, some people think that self-care costs too much money. Showing love to yourself does not need to be extravagant and cost a lot of money. Many times, people think of self-care as taking a day at the spa. This is time-consuming, expensive, and impractical. Caring for yourself can be something free that is done from your home, such as taking a hot bath.
A second myth is that it takes too much time. Self-care doesn’t need to require an hour of private time a day, every day. It can be performed in small intervals a few times a week. Take a 10-minute walk somewhere in nature, three times a week.
Third, there are individuals who feel that it’s selfish to put themselves first. This is where the analogy of pouring from an empty cup comes in, or the one about putting on your own oxygen mask before that of your dependent. You need to take proper care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. It is NOT selfish to take care of yourself.
A final example of a myth surrounding self-care is that people feel that they don’t need it. Everyone needs to show themselves some care and love, no matter what their situation may be. Self-care is not just a way to prevent relapses of mental illness symptoms but is a way to maintain optimal mental health.
These four common myths may come from many sources – a person’s own ideas, things they have read, or even societal pressures. But the important thing is to debunk these myths and find a way to show ourselves love in whatever way we can.