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Challenging the Myths of Self-Care

By: Kelly D' Souza


Is the cost of the spa an obstacle in your self-care routine? Are you binge-watching your favourite series on Netflix as part of your self-care? Do you often wonder if you are self-centered right before you initiate the act of self-care?

We present to you the three myths of self-care:

Myth: Self Care is a luxury.


Self-care is often considered synonymous with an expense. Many of us think of it as a luxury when in reality it can be independent of monetary costs. It can involve a simple deep breathing routine or a ten minute meditation session. We could give the advertisement industry a run for its money with regard to self-care, only if we began to understand that self-care doesn’t necessarily involve taking that vacation package to find yourself or an exotic spa to pamper yourself. I remember scrolling through posts telling me about the 10 places I need to visit to rejuvenate myself, and all of them involved buying a flight ticket, booking accommodating, and finding avail in an exotic spa. The feeling that rejuvenation was an offer I couldn’t afford at the time always brought me down. But it was just another myth standing in the way of self-care. Embracing the present moment and myself with acceptance is what it took to debunk this myth. I soon found myself rejuvenated with stretching exercises, spending time with myself at the nearest ravine, and going to bed on time – all of which costed me just a change in thought. It was as simple and free as spending a few minutes in silence and allowing myself plenty of rest.

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” - Etty Hillesum


Myth: Self Care is selfish.

Do you feel victim to the guilt associated with self-care? The myth originates from the idea that self-care involves choosing oneself over others. But on most days, self-care could coexist with caring for others. For example, your self-care routine can involve being kind to yourself and forgiving your own mistakes, just like you’d forgive someone else’s mistakes. One of the practices I incorporate in my self care routine is to send out love thoughts to the people close to me while minimizing self-judgment and forgiving myself when I make mistakes. Just like eating your daily meal or drinking water to sustain yourself isn’t an act of selfishness, in the same way self-care is just another way to sustain your well-being. Trying to take care of someone else without taking care of yourself is often as futile as trying to pour water into a cup from an empty bottle. In reality, self-care better equips you to gather resources to support another individual.

“We too should make ourselves empty, that the great soul of the universe may fill us with its breath.” - Laurence Binyon

Myth: Self Care involves compulsive habit change.

Self-care does encourage you to participate in activities that soothe your being. But it is important to debunk the myth that it involves addictive habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or binge watching television shows. It is far from cultivating habits that are harmful to your body and mind. It is an instrument of recovery and shouldn’t be confused for compulsive habits. At first, when the concept of self-care went viral, I easily confused it as a form of escape from anything bothering or stressing me. But in reality, self-care is a balance between accepting the present moment and letting go.

“Everything you do can be done better from a place of relaxation.” - Stephen C. Paul
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