There’s No “Right” Way to Do Self-Care

There’s No “Right” Way to Do Self-Care

via the Harvard Business Review by Alyssa F Westring


Finding time to take care of your mind and body can feel impossible. But the answer isn’t a better workout routine or sleep app. It’s changing your mindset. By challenging your assumptions about self-care, you can find an approach that works for you.

  • Self-care can look different for different people. It could be watching your favorite TV show at the end of a long day, or turning off your phone. Only you can determine what your mind, body, and spirit need to thrive.
  • To figure out what you need, start by simply noticing when you feel invigorated and when you feel drained. Look for patterns.
  • You should also look out for all-or-nothing thinking, as it can cause you to put too much pressure on yourself and avoid making changes at all.
  • From there, you can start to explore small, doable changes that work in the context of your whole life.

There’s been no shortage of advice touting the importance of self-care during this pandemic. We’re being told to meditate, take long baths, and purchase new and expensive products. Though this advice is well intentioned, it rarely gets to the heart of why so many of us struggle to nurture our mental and physical health.

As a researcher, teacher, and career coach, I’ve been studying this issue for nearly two decades. On a daily basis, I hear from people who want to take better care of themselves but can’t seem to find the time. It always falls to the bottom of their to-do lists … after they fulfill their responsibilities to their bosses, colleagues, families, and friends.

Finding time for self-care can be especially difficult for students and young professionals. The pressing urge to prioritize school, work, and jobs applications is overwhelming. Not surprisingly, by the end of the day, many people are left drained and have little motivation to focus on themselves.

The irony here is that making the time for self-care is essential to performing well in all the other areas of our lives. Ample research has shown that nurturing our brains, bodies, and spirits can help us be more effective at whatever we put our minds to. So, how do we reconcile this apparent paradox — our mental and physical health is important for our educations and careers, but our educations and careers impede the time and energy we have for our mental and physical health?

The solution isn’t a better study or workout routine, or the right sleep or meditation app. In order to change what we do, we have to change how we think.

In my research with organizational psychologist, Stew Friedman, we’ve found that most people operate with a trade-off mentality (i.e., “If I want to perform better at work, I need to take time away from something else”). This mindset is ingrained in the way we’re taught to view the different parts of life from a young age — even the notion of work-life “balance” is frequently represented as a scale with work on one side and the rest of life on the other. And while it’s true that there are limits to our time, it is this exact mindset that often stops us from making positive changes.

To create this positive change, we need to reframe how we view the interconnections between the different parts of our lives. By challenging your assumptions about self-care, you can find an approach that works for you.

Here are three tools that can help…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE