How to tell if your self-care is working

When self-care “works” it really works! What I mean by that is when practiced regularly and with mindful intentions, we can benefit greatly! We may feel calmer, more patient, relaxed, motivated, and focused. In addition, we may feel more in balance, at ease, and have an overall uplift in mood. We also are more inclined to get along well with others when our self-care is in check. That’s a lot, right!?

When it’s not working, we may feel more overwhelmed, stressed, or exactly the same as if we didn’t engage in it at all. But what does not working even mean? Because if I’m taking time for myself then I must be doing it right, right? Not exactly. I wrote in last week’s blog about how self-care can be tricky. That being said, use the following comparisons to help you evaluate your own self-care and then refer to the flow chart at the end of this blog to help you perform your own self-care check-in.

Avoidance vs. Rest: Self-care is like a timeout. We take time out from our regular tasks and responsibilities to give ourselves the attention and care we need. When that rest turns into procrastination from returning back to our life duties (i.e. work, school, caring for the kids) then it morphs into avoidance. If you find yourself putting off “tagging back in” it may be a sign that you’re hiding from whatever it is you have to get back to. This could be for a number of reasons and one may be because you’re burnt out- you probably waited too long to engage in self-care in the first place and it’s daunting to even think about returning to your other priorities. The idea is to engage in a more regular self-care practice so it’s not something we just slip into and can’t climb out of.

Numbing vs. Mindfulness: An example of numbing with self-care is when we sit on our couch for hours binge-watching Netflix. Or, it’s when we decide to have dessert and eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting or drink an entire bottle of wine in one night. Consciously or not, when we decide we don’t want to feel, we want to check-out and escape, we lose out on the benefits of self-care. How are you supposed to recharge if you don’t know what you’re even charging? Part of our definition of self-care is, “Intentionally paying attention to what is mentally, emotionally, and physically going on for you.” That’s why the mindfulness piece is imperative to any self-care practice. Setting intentions and sticking to them, keeps you in control of your self-care rather than whatever activity it is having the power. Is it okay to indulge every once in a while? Of course. But your awareness of that is key to benefiting from your self-care.

Luckily, we’ve created this flow chart for you to turn to so you can get the most out of your self-care! Download it, screenshot it, save it or whatever you need to access it the next time your self-care needs a tune up!

Stay Well,
Catherine at Revive


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