5 Self-Care Myths
Updated: Sep 3
While self-care is becoming more normalized, there are still many misunderstandings about it. These harmful misconceptions surrounding self-care can hold us back and cause feelings of guilt for trying to meet our needs.
Myth #1: Self-care is selfish.
The truth is, you will best be able to serve others when your own needs are met. You can't serve from an empty platter. If you've ever flown on an airplane, you know that passengers who are travelling with young children are instructed to put their own oxygen mask on before helping others. On one end of the spectrum are the people who endlessly serve until one day they wake up and realize they have nothing left to give. On the other end of the spectrum are the people who focus only on themselves, what they need, and what others can provide them. We encourage a more balanced approach, where you recognize that your needs matter, but not at the exclusion of everybody else.
Myth #2: Self-care is a sign of weakness.
The bravest people I know are the ones who are willing to ask for help. It's not weakness to acknowledge that you can't do everything for everyone all the time. It's vulnerable, courageous, and honest to say that you have needs. It's a sign of humanity; it makes you just like everybody else around you, whether they're willing to admit it or not.
Myth #3: Self-care is optional.
Self-care isn't something that you can push off. And if you try to avoid it, you'll eventually face the negative consequences and burnout that ensues. It's not something you do if you have time. It's something you need to prioritize, so you have the energy to meet all of life's demands.
Myth #4: Self-care can be mindless.
I know it would be tempting to take the day off of work and sit on the couch binge-watching Netflix for hours. And while that might sound appealing, it's not really self-care. True self-care isn't about numbing out, avoiding, or escaping reality. True self-care necessitates mindful, deliberate actions taken to nurture the different parts of yourself.
Myth #5: Self-care is expensive or indulgent.
I am a self-proclaimed fan of massages, bath bombs, and delicious chocolate indulgences. Often, these are the images that might come to mind when you hear self-care. But self-care isn't just a luxury that only some people can afford. It is available to those with modest means and minimal time. Even a 2-3 minute guided meditation can make a difference. There are so many free resources available to you, so don't let a shortage of money be your excuse!
What other myths have stood in your way from practicing regular self-care? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories!
Carrie Nicholes is a Maryland Board approved Licensed Certified Social Worker - Clinical (LCSW-C) and the founder of Cedar Counseling & Wellness. Recognized as one of the top therapists in Annapolis, she has a lifelong passion for teaching people tools to improve their lives.