If you’ve ever read an article about stress relief or finding more balance in your life, you’ve probably read all about self-care. It’s a great concept and something everyone needs to do. After all, if you take care of yourself, it’s easier to take care of everything else in your life. However, there are some self-care myths ruining the idea of self-care and your productivity.
In order for self-care to be effective, it has to be done right. If you’re finding you’re not getting any benefits, some of these myths might be to blame.
You Need a Self-Care To-Do List
Do you really have time for even more items on your to-do list? One of the biggest self-care myths is you need a separate to-do list in order to take better care of yourself. Instead of making you feel better, you actually feel more stressed. Psychology Today even calls self-care “nonsense,” saying the pressure to do it all just right negates the entire point of taking care of yourself.
Plus, you get so focused on getting through your self-care to-do list that you don’t get your work done. In fact, you may find yourself spending your work time dreading your self-care list.
You Should Do What Makes You Happy
Yes, happiness is important. But, that’s only part of self-care. According to Psych Central, self-care is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” It’s not avoiding responsibilities in order to make yourself happy.
Stopping work every time you feel a little stress or just don’t like what you’re doing at that moment ruins your productivity. You create a toxic habit of saying “my job’s not making me happy right now, so I’m not going to do it because self-care is important.”
Work isn’t always fun. While having a career you enjoy most of the time is ideal, you’re still not going to enjoy it 24/7. This means you’ll have to learn to push through when you’re not really feeling it versus procrastinating in the name of self-care.
Procrastination Is Self-Care
This is one of the most harmful self-care myths. With so much misinformation online, especially on social media, it’s hard to know what self-care is all about.
Instead of actually caring for oneself, people are simply self-medicating in a variety of ways, including procrastination. Skipping a few hours of work here and there turns into taking a few mental health days. Suddenly, you’re so far behind that you’re not sure how you’ll ever catch up.
Even if you’re not going to extreme levels, procrastinating in the name of self-care never works out the way you want. It may be something as simple as putting off a single task all day because your mental health will be better if you’re not stressing about it first thing. However, you then decide to put it off until the next day because you’re too tired at the end of the workday to deal with it.
Instead, you could have completed it first thing and spent the rest of your day getting more accomplished because you weren’t dreading that one task.
Give in to Temptation
Have you ever binge-watched a TV show and called it self-care? While it can be considered that, it’s not self-care if it’s interfering with your productivity. Giving in to temptation is one of the more common self-care myths.
It’s the act of giving in every time your mind drifts away from work. You might have only worked for five minutes, but if your mind wanders and you feel like having a snack or taking a walk, you leave your work behind and give in. Distractions become self-care versus something to ignore.
Yes, you should take breaks. However, giving in every time you get momentarily distracted or “feel” like doing something else, you’ll never be able to stay focused on your work. In fact, it becomes even more difficult to ignore distractions. You train your mind that distractions are more important than staying focused.
Self-Care Means Taking Care
Self-care myths are harmful to your productivity, mental health, and general well-being. Taking care of yourself shouldn’t make things worse. If you’re feeling more stress, getting behind on your work, or giving in to toxic habits, you’re not taking care of yourself.
Instead, create a routine of simple ways to care for yourself. Add in fun exercises. And most importantly, find balance between work and your personal life.