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Why is Self-Care hard sometimes?

When you think of "self-care," what comes to your mind? Do you picture fuzzy blankets, nature walks, bubble baths, and meditation? While self-care can include these things, this isn't the only side of self-care. Do you find self-care to be difficult? Why does self-care often feel challenging? How does an activity meant to be pleasurable end up feeling draining?

Self-care is defined as the intentional act of taking time to address one's physical, emotional, and mental well-being, self-care is vital for overall health. Self-care and self-love are important routines that we need to take up to ensure that we feel important, valued, and loved by ourselves. When you take care of yourself, you become the author, not the victim, of your life. Self-care is a continuous process of proactively considering and tending to your needs and maintaining your wellness. This ongoing process can be tricky sometimes

Here are reasons why you find it difficult to prioritize self-care:

Negative Self-talk

Understanding what you need to do to care for yourself doesn't necessarily mean you can always follow through. This understanding can sometimes distort your view, making it difficult to recognize the healthy actions you are already taking. Let's say you know that eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are essential for your overall health. However, due to a busy schedule and various life stressors, you find it challenging to maintain a consistent exercise routine. You may feel guilty or frustrated for not exercising as you should, which can lead to negative self-perception.

In this case, understanding what you should do (exercise regularly) isn't the same as being able to do it consistently. This awareness might make it difficult to see the healthy choices you are making in terms of your diet and sleep, which are steps in the right direction for your well-being. Your skewed perspective may lead you to overlook these positive actions because you're focused on what you believe you should be doing but can't.

So, it's about acknowledging and appreciating the healthy behaviors you are already incorporating into your life, even if you can't fulfill all your self-care goals perfectly. Considering self-care in a practical manner can assist you in choosing the strategies that align best with your needs and preferences.

Faulty Logic: Thinking self-care is selfish - Hustle mentality

This perspective often arises because people associate self-care with taking time for oneself, which can seem counterproductive or self-indulgent to those who prioritize constant work and productivity. The faulty logic in this context arises from a limited understanding of self-care. In reality, self-care is not inherently selfish; rather, it is a means to enhance one's physical and mental well-being. It provides the necessary rest and rejuvenation to maintain productivity and efficiency in the long run.

Belief System

When we hold underlying beliefs about ourselves, they aren't conscious thoughts, but rather convictions we hold based on what we've been told or our past experiences. These beliefs can manifest as thoughts that surface during our actions, often taking on a negative tone. For instance, you might think, "I'm too busy for this right now; I should be doing something more productive. "These beliefs can stem from repeated encounters where the feedback from those around us, though not explicitly negative, implies room for improvement. We may find ourselves constantly compared to others. Over time, these beliefs become deeply rooted, and we begin to accept them as facts about ourselves. Consequently, we start to feel that we're never quite good enough, that others are consistently superior, or that we don't deserve certain indulgences. These thoughts may not always be at the forefront of our minds, but they influence our behavior and hinder our progress.

It's crucial to recognize and address these underlying beliefs that hold us back. One way to uncover them is by exploring our reactions when we affirm our worthiness of love, affection, and attention. If our response tends to dismiss such affirmations as airy-fairy or not meant for us, it reveals the deeply ingrained beliefs that affect our approach to self-improvement and self-care. By acknowledging and working to shift these beliefs, we can better pursue our personal growth and well-being.


Conditioning often occurs when we are brought up with the belief that self-care is of secondary importance. This means that from a young age, we are taught to prioritize the needs and expectations of others before our own well-being. Such conditioning can lead to a mindset where taking care of ourselves feels indulgent or selfish, and we may constantly put the needs of others ahead of our own. Breaking free from this conditioning involves recognizing the value of self-care and understanding that it is not a selfish act but a fundamental aspect of maintaining physical and emotional health. The guilt we can feel about taking time for ourselves and our wellness is a clear indication that we have internalized this conditioning and beliefs. It takes courage and a certain amount of resolve to refuse and resist this conditioning – to put ourselves and our self-care.

It is so important to tend to ourselves by noticing our thoughts, feeling our feelings, and reflecting on what it is that we need. We are not needy, you have needs. What helps promote your good-feeling thoughts and feelings? Music. Planning. Imagining. Reflecting. Be sure to make time for your feelings and thoughts to land in the same spot. Often our thoughts are charging forward and our feelings are left stumbling behind. Moments to come into the present moment together (thinking and feeling) can not only be restorative but can also foster creativity and innovation.

Shame: Not Feeling Worthy or Deserving.

Surprisingly, self-care can sometimes evoke feelings of shame. This shame can take various forms, such as feeling guilty for not fulfilling necessary tasks or questioning one's worthiness of self-care and compassion. It's a potent catalyst for self-loathing. In our society, shame is prevalent, and we are highly susceptible to its influence. For instance, imagine someone who's been working long hours and neglecting their well-being. They decide to take a day off to rest, but they can't help feeling ashamed about not being more productive. This inner voice of shame makes them doubt whether they deserve the care and rest they're seeking, ultimately undermining their self-care efforts. The fear of judgment from others can also lead to feelings of shame when taking time for self-care.

We cannot do all these things! Learning to say no to new projects, tasks, meetings, or favors that we don’t need to do is a critical skill and allows us more time for self-care.

Burnt out / Depleted: Being so tired we do not make good decisions or choices

In the context of self-care, experiencing burnout or depletion refers to the state of extreme exhaustion where our physical and mental energy reserves are fully drained. When we reach this level of fatigue, our ability to make good decisions or choices regarding our well-being is seriously compromised. For instance, if someone has been overworking, neglecting sleep, and not practicing self-care, they may eventually become burned out or depleted. In this state, they may struggle to recognize the importance of taking breaks, getting enough rest, or seeking help when needed. Their judgment is clouded by fatigue, and they may make choices that further worsen their condition, like pushing themselves even harder or neglecting their health. Recognizing the signs of burnout or depletion is crucial in the context of self-care. It's a reminder that taking time to rest, practicing self-compassion, and seeking support when needed are essential for making sound decisions and choices that promote overall well-being and prevent further exhaustion.

Significance: Not prioritizing wellness and health

Self-care involves valuing ourselves enough to make our health, well-being, and happiness a priority. Self-care means getting the sleep you need and knowing how to rest. Making a serious effort to make that happen as well as knowing how to rest your body and your mind are essential. Self-care means making sure that you're well-fed. Does what you eat provide the energy you need to function? Do you take time to eat meals at work and do you take time to have snacks when your body requires intermittent food during the work day? Self-care means integrating your favorite healthy foods into your everyday eating routines and planning ahead to make sure you have adequate nutrition throughout your day.

It is important to put your needs first and recognize that we have the choice to lead lives that promote both physical and mental health and well-being. Prioritize quality in your life, which includes nourishing food, adequate rest, and time for meaningful connections with loved ones and self, as these elements rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit.


Monitor your thoughts and confront negative self-talk, fears, and feelings of inadequacy. Treat yourself with the same kindness you extend to others, as we are often our own harshest critics.

Learn to decline requests for assistance when you're already overwhelmed or when your personal needs require attention. Maintain a connection with yourself through activities that bring joy, even briefly. Bask in the sunshine, savor your favorite music, socialize with friends, or immerse yourself in nature – engaging in activities that foster happiness and self-connection.

Self-care means doing things you initially don’t want to do and making the choice to do what’s uncomfortable. It means accepting your personal failures and disappointing relationships and then deciding to re-strategize them. It’s not about giving in to your immediate urges when that means giving up on a long-term goal. It’s about forgiving, letting go, and accepting what you can’t change. It’s about being willing to let people down and even saying goodbye to some of them. Self-care can sometimes be about putting your life aside to care for someone in need, and other times about putting yourself first above those who drain you. Ultimately, it’s about living a life you choose, not one that you sleepwalk through.

Self-care is about living authentically and meaningfully. It empowers you to be the architect of your life, not a victim. It's about crafting a life you cherish rather than one that requires recovery or therapy. It's not about an impressive-looking life on paper but one that aligns with your true self. This might mean letting go of certain goals for a more balanced life. Self-care involves making decisions that serve your long-term well-being rather than just easing anxiety in the moment. It's about self-reliance, meeting your own needs, and not depending on others for fulfillment. Self-care is an essential part of living a healthy and happy lifestyle. It can also help productivity levels, boost self-esteem, and support overall mental health.

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