"Self Care" Vs. "Taking Care of Yourself"
Everyone needs to relax and de-stress, and everyone should take care of themselves. But I take issue with the fact that inspiration and positivism blogs take a term, which has always meant “the medical care patients are expected to provide for themselves” and now it somehow means having a chocolate or being lazy or getting a pedicure?
Due to my complete lack of brain juices, some of this writing below if from an article referring to emotional/psychological self-care(at the bottom); some is my own rambling, and some is a bit of a mini-rant, So……I’m not sorry and enjoy!
Mental health professionals pioneered the concept of emotional self-care by prescribing healthy lifestyle changes and stress management behaviors, but these are hard to stick to, and often go ignored. During the 1980s, the term self-care became popularized by the self-help craze. It is now common to hear talk (especially among women) about needing to take better care of oneself. Consequently, it became irresistibly profitable for advertisers to perpetuate the fantasy that self-care can be easy. As a result of the self-care marketing blitz, many of us think that getting pedicures, choosing hand-dipped dark chocolates, and buying 10,000-thread count bed linens equal self-care.
Self-care is not self-pampering - not that there’s anything wrong with self-pampering -pedicures, dark chocolates, and other luxuries. That is, as long as you can afford luxuries. Spending money that you don’t have is self-indulgence.
Self-care is not self-indulgence. Popularly, the terms self-care and self-indulgence are used interchangeably, as in “Oh, go ahead, indulge. You deserve it.” We tell ourselves that we are practicing self-care when, in fact, we are engaging in self-indulgence.
Self care is the medical care a patient is expected to provide for themselves. Self-care is taking care of minor ailments, long term conditions, or one’s own health after discharge from secondary and tertiary health care. Most patients who have ADL in-home care are still responsible for self-care.
Self Care IS:
- Dressing replacement/Wound care
- Monitoring Blood Glucose/Injecting Insulin
- Adjusting, inserting, cleaning IV ports
- Nutritional education and implementation
- Monitoring and recording Pain/Moods/Food/Vital signs and keeping a detailed journal
- Use of assistive devices
- Seeking and making use of occupational therapists, pharmacists, physiotherapists and complementary therapists
- Tens Application/adjustments/Self Massage/Hot Baths
Self care is freeing and frustrating and annoying and humiliating and rote and emotionally complex and complicated. Self care is not something I would do with, or in front of friends. It’s not a responsibility I accepted lightly, and it’s not something to be trivialized. It is most certainly not eating a cupcake.
When you use the term “Self-Care” to mean self-pampering or self-indulgence, you make light of the weight of that burden. You trivialize all the medical care that people do every day.
Taking Care of Yourself means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy. Also essential to Taking Care of Yourself is learning to self-soothe or calm our physical and emotional distress. Remember your mother teaching you to blow on the scrape on your knee? This was an early lesson in self-soothing but the majority of adults haven’t the foggiest notion how to constructively soothe themselves.
Please pamper yourself, please self–indulge, please self-soothe; we all need the break sometimes. But PLEASE don’t call it “Self Care” unless you’re actually doing some heavy-duty medical shit for yourself.
Wow. Seriously, I’m so happy that this blog exists. I will definitely think much more carefully about how I use the term “self care” in the future.
While I do think it is incredibly important to understand the origin of terms. There have been a lot of people who use the term without a connection to caring for ones self in lieu of medical care but to every person their situations are different. As someone who cannot afford to see a therapist or do other things I know can help me deal like ride a bike on a regular basis the difference between what someone might call pampering or self indulgence is my self care.
I’m someone who feels disassociated from my body on a regular basis this something that I am constantly challenged with from a mental health standpoint and one of the best ways I have found to feel more connected to my body is through exercise but when that is not available painting my nails has become is an easy solution to feel that connection again. Setting time out for myself to relax in this way has also improved my own depression and anxiety. This can also mean the kind of food I eat including cupcakes, “healthy” foods are not the only kind that can stimulate emotional or mental wellbeing. I think it trivializes the experience of people who do use food to emotionally cope to dismiss the aspects of how food can affect wellbeing.
I’m not sure if the OP also wrote this article but some of the sections were also found on it. This section on both articles is really important but was changed to from self care in the OPs article to taking care of yourself I think that is problematic since it is so hard to tell the different between everyone,
Self-care means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy. Also essential to self-care is learning to self-soothe or calm our physical and emotional distress.
That’s why self care can mean a whole host of things to different people especially when we are talking about huge differences that can come between physical and mental disabilities.
I had originally been so struck by the origin of the term that I failed to consider these things. Thank you.