The Paradox of Self-Care: When Healing Turns into Hurting

Sep 26
As a psychotherapist, I regularly consult with clients and patients who seem to be doing everything "right" in terms of self-care. They tell me they've incorporated running, smoothies, self-help books, and even spa treatments into their weekly routines, and yet they still feel stressed and overwhelmed.

The irony is palpable: the very activities intended to enhance well-being are adding layers of burden and stress.

The Social Media Mirage

We're living in a digital era where self-care has been glamorized to an almost unrealistic standard by social media influencers. And yes, while a candle that smells like Gwyneth's private parts might seem like the ultimate path to inner peace, let's remember—it probably won't make your life's problems go away.

Many influencers are sponsored to promote such products, distorting the true essence of self-care.

The Dangers of Overcommitment

The problem arises when self-care becomes another checkbox on an overflowing to-do list. When it morphs into a source of stress, it ceases to serve its original purpose.

A New Approach to Self-Care: Key Guidelines

Inner Reflection

 The first step toward effective self-care is to tune into your own needs. Listen to what your mind and body are telling you.

Focus on Quality

Choose fewer, more impactful activities that genuinely resonate with you. Remember, it's not the number of self-care rituals you engage in but the quality and intention behind them.

The Power of 'Switching Off'

Rather than leaping from one self-care activity to the next, give yourself permission to do nothing at all. This downtime can often be more healing than any activity.

Embrace 'Non-Doing'

Sometimes doing 'nothing' is the most therapeutic activity you can engage in. This is often when our minds process, reset, and heal.

Boundaries are Your Friend

Learn to say no when you need to. Setting boundaries is essential for mental well-being.
Let's redefine self-care as a flexible, individualized practice that aligns with your unique psychological and emotional needs. The ultimate aim should be authentic self-enrichment and rejuvenation, not another chore that leaves you yearning for a simpler life