Self-Care vs. Self-Indulgence

Next time you do something in the name of self-care, consider if it truly serves you, or is it just a quick fix that ultimately leaves you feeling worse?

Since becoming a pop culture phenomenon, doing things in the name of #selfcare has taken on a whole new meaning. It was somewhere between some frivolous online spending and my second night of takeout when a realization dawned on me — when does “self-care” turn into straight-up “self-indulgence”? Where do you draw the line between what feels good and what is actually good for you? Said lines have certainly become blurred with the rise of the “treat yourself” mentality and other hashtag-worthy philosophies. I’m totally guilty of subbing an hour on the treadmill for happy hour with friends in the name of “self-care.” Both activities serve me in different ways at different moments in time. But, like many things, without moderation and balance, certain habits can cause some pretty major implications. 

Let’s take a step back.

What all of us want (and need) is to comfortably and lovingly care for ourselves. True self-love is nurturing. Your mental, physical and emotional health are all attributed to things you do in the name of self-care, and sometimes that means doing things that don’t particularly feel “good” in the moment (i.e. waking up for that morning sweat sesh when all you want is to hit snooze). Often this mentality becomes obscured and we end up using it to justify behaviors to quickly alter our mood or consciousness as a means of escape.

It was throughout this introspection that I had a thought: Does this mean I’m supposed to give up my vices — weekly takeout, wine, sleeping in til noon — and replace them with things like cleaning the house, managing my finances, eating (and cooking and prepping) balanced meals? Is this what being a normal, healthy, self-loving adult is about? In part, yes. True self-care comes when you think about your long-term happiness and well-being. It’s about understanding your boundaries and not setting yourself back by going beyond what’s essential. 

In short, self-care is about just that — taking care of ourselves. Yes, sometimes that means ordering dessert or not leaving bed on a Sunday. But in order to holistically — through mind, body and soul — show we value ourselves, there has to be balance. And balance is challenging. It takes effort. Prioritizing our time and checking in with ourselves are the first steps. The more consciously you focus on the balance, the better you will ultimately feel. And isn’t that the point of self-care, after all?    

With that being said, it’s good to note self-care is not a one-size-fits-all mentality. Maybe my version involves a face mask and essentially avoiding any and all human interaction, while yours is more like dinner in the city and great conversation. Treating yourself to those little luxuries from time to time shouldn’t feel unnecessary. Healthy indulgences are small actions that help restore a sense of balance in our busy lives, and they are very necessary for happiness.

Some simple suggestions to consider: 

Take a long bath. Go on a walk. Unplug for an hour. Make a cup of tea. Take a nap. Exfoliate. Use an oil diffuser (I like lavender or lemongrass to de-stress). Take a fitness class. Meal prep. Send yourself flowers.

Look inward. Notice what you need. Focus on things that will benefit you in the long term, but don’t deny yourself milk and honey when necessary. Make the effort to take care of yourself and foster healthy habits a regular part of your life. Because #selfcare.

+ What do you do when you need a little self-care? Share in the comments below!

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5 years ago

Self-Care is best care

I like that you mentioned that self-care is different for everyone, why should we judge what someone else takes it to be? Great post! ❤️

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

5 years ago

Such a nice post!

5 years ago

A thought provoking and well written piece! Well done Taylor!

5 years ago

It’s so important to take care of yourself, well-written post

5 years ago

To me, self-care is to about finding a way that works for you in order to have more well being and less stress.

4 years ago

Social Media break and accepting some relationships/friendships are unhealthy.

4 years ago

Self care is good, but professional help is even better :)