If you struggle practicing self care this article is for you!
I am so excited to share this post with you today! I have collaborated with some of the top self care experts to provide a few solutions to common struggles that we all face.
We know that self care routines are incredibly important to our overall well being, but when life gets busy, making time for ourselves can be so difficult! This post addresses the common problems we face with making self care a priority, and provides solutions AND resources to help us overcome these issues!
Problem #1: Self Sabotage and Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are picked up somewhere along your life path and they are buried deep down inside of you. They are not real or true beliefs but because of your life experiences and possibly your circumstances, you take those beliefs and make them your own.
Some common beliefs that stop you from self care are:
- You believe that self care is selfish.
- You don’t believe you are worthy of self love and care.
- You believe you are a failure
Because you believe these things as your truth you are more likely to participate in behaviors that sabotage you and stop you from loving and caring for yourself. The good news is that these limiting beliefs can be overcome and with a little mindfulness, self sabotaging behaviors can be eliminated!
Here are 4 steps you can take to change your limiting beliefs:
Step 1. Recognize the limiting belief by considering all the things that limit you. “I can’t do A because of B.” B is your limiting belief.
Example: “I can’t self care because it’s selfish.”
Step 2. Find the root of the belief. When did this belief start? What happened that caused the belief? Was this belief given to you by someone else?
Example: As a child, I was told that I was selfish because I liked to play alone and didn’t want to share.
Step 3. Find a new belief to replace the old one. Rewire your brain with new beliefs that empower you instead of limiting you.
Example: SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH, IT’S SURVIVAL!!!
Step 4. Act as if its already true.
Example: I need self care to survive therefore I must make it a priority!
Problem #2: Not Enough Time for Self Care
Self Care is an important and necessary key to living an amazingly joyful life! When you practice self care you are really practicing self love. When you practice self love you will find that love will fill you up and flow out to your loved ones and the rest of the world.
We all know how important self care is, but how do we find the time for it in our already busy schedules?
The answer, create a routine that brings self care into your life. Then make a commitment to this routine until it becomes a habit and once you see how your self care routine improves the quality of your life, you will not want to give it up!
Step #1: Wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual. In order to set yourself up for success, you may want to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual. If this means you need to go to be 30 minutes earlier, do it! Prioritize yourself! You are Worth It!
Step #2: Move Your Body (10 Minutes) – Find ways to move and stretch that feel good to you. (Here are Some Movement Ideas.)
Step #3: Meditate & Journal (10 Minutes) – Spend 5 minutes in meditation followed by 5 minutes of journaling and reflection. (Here are Some Tips and Suggestions.)
Step #4: Follow Your Bliss (10 minutes) – Spend time doing something you enjoy. Follow your interests and passions. (Here are Some Fun Ideas.)
Step #5: Celebrate – You did it! You are ready to embrace the day!
Consistency is key. When you give yourself the care and love you need, you have more to give others. More energy. More patience. More love. Here is the Complete Morning Routine to help you bring more ease and joy to your life plus a Free Printable Morning Routine Guide for you to enjoy!
Catherine is the Founder of Simply Joyful Journey, LLC and the Creator of the Simply Joyful Journey Podcast. She is passionate about helping others bring more joy into their lives! For more on Self Care, Joyful Motherhood, Meditation, & Intentional Living visit SimplyJoyfulJourney.com.
Problem #3: Allowing Emotions to Drive our Decisions
Often times we can get overwhelmed with negative emotions and we let our emotions make decisions for us. Having good emotional health allows you to fully feel your emotions but not let your emotions rule your choices and decisions.
If you are having an unhealthy relationship with your emotions you could be feeling:
- Angry on a regular basis
- Bitter at someone
- Guilty for a past decision
- Worried throughout the day
Understanding how your emotions impact you and what coping mechanisms you use can determine how emotionally healthy you are. When you stuff your emotions down they don’t go away. In fact, they can continue to grow and show up at unexpected times and can even cause health problems.
Proper self-care and self-love can give you the tools you need to take charge of your emotional health. Learning to change your mindset and creating habits of thankfulness and forgiveness can dramatically improve your emotional and mental health.
Do you need some practical ways you can restore your emotional health? You can read more about emotional health and how you can take care of your emotions in the article 7 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Health at BlissHealthCoaching.com.
Amanda is the creator of Bliss Health Coaching which is a blog about mindset, self-love, and overall health.
Problem #4: Viewing Self Care as a Luxury
Since my daughter was born a couple of years ago, my amount of time for anything is approximately 1/100000th of what it was before. I love my daughter, I love spending time with her, and I’m grateful and happy to be able to spend the majority of each day with her. She’s awesome!
I wouldn’t have it any other way. And… I also like writing, I like working, I like exercising, and I like self-care (showering is in there somewhere too). And I don’t just like these things, they are expressions of core needs for me: creativity, movement, and self-connection (and cleanliness).
As one of my favorite sayings goes, “self-care is healthcare.” It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity—especially when we are taking care of tiny humans or have other big responsibilities.
That’s why it’s doubly important to dig deep before we do anything else and ask ourselves “What am I really needing right now?” Connection? Movement? Rest? Adventure? Self-acceptance?
However much (or little) time we have, identifying our deepest needs and desires first makes our self-care practice 1000x more effective. Bubble baths and spa sessions are great, but if they’re not actually what we’re needing at that time, they’re unlikely to leave us feeling much better than we were before.
Once you’ve identified what you need, it might be surprisingly easy to meet that need—even in a few minutes. You can find more suggestions for quick self-care practices here and more about how to identify your core needs and use self-care to meet them in my book, From Coping to Thriving: How to Turn Self-Care Into a Way of Life.
Hannah is the author and creator of www.becomingwhoyouare.net, where you will find inspiring psychology-based articles and resources on living with greater courage, compassion, and creativity.
Problem #5: Too Busy to Focus on Self Care
“I don’t have enough time” is the most common reason I hear from women who are struggling to incorporate self-care into their daily routine. The common theme that presents itself is that life is just too busy.
I prefer to turn this around and ask them to think of their life as full rather than busy. Busy is a word that society uses to imply the busier we are, the happier we must be. When in fact, it can be quite the opposite. I often find that people are running from something, or trying to fill a void in their life if they feel the need to always appear busy.
Change your outlook by thinking of all the different areas of your life as blessings and from an abundance mindset instead of busy in the negative perspective that there is never enough time.
Life is full, your life might be blessed with children, a husband, a career, a side-hustle, a volunteer position, the list could go on an on. The longer your list, the more imperative it is to give yourself a few minutes of every day.
You give and give of yourself to everyone in your life but if you don’t take time to fill yourself up; your tank will be depleted and eventually you find yourself running on empty.
Taking a few minutes every day to focus on areas vital to your self-care actually multiplies your time, giving you the energy and focus you need to handle other aspects of your life better.
Small changes can lead to big results! There is more to self-care than the occasional bubble bath; read this post to discover the 4 Key Areas Vital to Self-Care and equip yourself to love YOU and others well.
Lisa is the author and creator of www.lisadesignslife.com where you will find inspiring heart-centered encouragement to create space in your soul and home for a happier, mindful, and more balanced life.
Problem #6: Difficulty Finding Time (and Motivation!) to Exercise
There was a period in my life where I was dealing with a lot of change (starting my first real job and living on my own for the first time) and it completely knocked my fitness routine sideways.
Needless to say I started to feel lethargic, gain weight, and get sick more often. I knew I needed to get back on track with exercise but with everything that was going on in my life, I desperately needed a way to squeeze exercise into my day without making me feel overwhelmed.
I started to look for creative ways to “sneak” in exercise throughout my day and developed a system of exercises that I could do while I do my daily tasks such as commuting, working, housework, and shopping.
I shared some of these “sneaky” exercises in my post 14 Easy (And Sneaky) Ways to Exercise for Busy People. This post is great for anyone who’s struggling to balance fitness with a hectic schedule.
Sabrina is the creator and author of The Budding Optimist, with an inspiring story of strength and resiliency. Through Sabrina’s struggles, she learned about hope and shares her lessons of strength and optimism with her readers.
Problem #7: Not Knowing who to Turn to for Self-care Guidance
I’m Laura, and I’m a licensed professional counselor as well as a blogger on all things self care and mental health. One thing my readers run into over and over is how to find a quality therapist. I’ve had this problem myself too, and I’d like to think I know what to look for!
If you’re looking for a therapist now and aren’t sure where to start, I want to first encourage you for asking this question at all. It takes courage and commitment to your own growth and healing to seek out therapy, and that’s amazing.
I have a few tips that can help your search go more smoothly:
- Start out with knowing your options, such as your insurance, location, and budget. Search within these parameters to save yourself time and stress.
- When you’ve found a few possibilities, start to look deeper. Find out everything you can about a potential therapist, like checking out their website, looking at their specialties, and learning a bit about their theoretical orientation and what that means for how they do therapy.
- Talk to them before setting up a full appointment and feel free to ask lots of questions. Try to stay open-minded when meeting a new therapist!
- Finally, don’t expect immediate results, but do expect to feel seen, heard, and safe.
All of these tips are covered in-depth on my blog post How to Find the Right Therapist. If you’re searching, I hope you check it out!
Laura is a licensed professional counselor and founder of Ivory & Pine, a blog about all things intentional living, particularly self care and mental health. She is passionate about helping people maximize their potential, embrace their identity, and clarify their purpose.
Problem #8: Balancing Productivity & Rest (to prevent Burnout!)
“The cycle of productivity and rest is rigged.”
Be productive…Push forward…Get Stressed…Burnout…then Rest. Rest comes but it’s further out on my calendar and comes at a cost.
My time right now is valuable so it has to go to only the necessities. I feel like I’m missing out on parts of life right now. I wish I could work on blogging, read, and do crafts more. I want to enjoy my hobbies.
I wish I could muster up the energy to do the things I love. But when I finally have the time, I feel tired.
I ended up taking a 2 hour nap one day and it felt amazing… but there went those two hours. Another day, I watched Psych episodes… when I should have gotten more work done. The day before that I got to relax more… but I could’ve started holiday crafts or read another chapter of my “Love and Respect” book.
I love relaxing through naps or watching Netflix but there are days where I feel like fighting it. I’d rather have the energy to do my hobbies. Why do I fight the rest? Why do I need to fight such a wonderful relaxing time?
Thoughts if you struggle with this too:
- What if naps are good (keeping me sane through my days) and what if needing that much relaxation won’t last?
- I won’t always be in this draining season. It’s a struggle to remember that I won’t always be in a season where my head is running faster than my body can keep up with. I won’t always be newly married taking two intense college classes. This is a season. Sure there will be more seasons where I feel this… but it is not going to last forever.
- My energy will come back. I will be able to function better someday but for now… I choose to not force myself. I choose to take care of myself first. I choose to let other people (that love me and would love to be there for me) to help me.”
Mandy is the blogger behind MandysDIYcare.com and is passionate about helping women creatively find rest through her journey with self care and self worth.
Problem #9: Not knowing which self care practice is right for you in any given situation
There’s so much out there about self care these days. It’s so cool that it’s gone so mainstream however, it can be confusing and overwhelming about exactly how to practice self care and what to do.
The great news is, we can practice intuitive self care, which gives us access to a stream of wisdom that tells you exactly what you need in each moment of your life. Your inner guidance system will show you what to do.
Instead of trying to remember exactly which self care technique you need for each moment of your life, or worrying that something won’t work, take a moment to check in. Take a few deep breaths and ask your higher self what you need right now.
Listen to your intuition. Intuition comes as a thought, idea, or an inner sense. It has a peaceful nature, which is how you can tell that it’s intuition. It is a gentle suggestion, which is why you need to first get peaceful to hear it.
Sometimes we can feel too stressed or anxious to tap in. If this is the case, you need to focus on self soothing activities until you feel calmer. This could look like canceling everything, taking time alone and counting 20 conscious breaths.
Follow these steps to practice intuitive self care:
- Turn your attention inwards to see if you’re ready to connect to your intuition. If you are ready, jump to step 3! If not, move on to step 2.
- If you’re feeling too anxious to hear your intuition, activate extreme self soothing. Focus on your breath and count 20 inhales and exhales. This will take the edge off your stress. Depending on how anxious you are, you may need to take more time to work on lowering your stress levels, which you can read more about on my blog at The Happi Empire.
- Take a deep breath and consciously connect to your higher self, the Universe or God – whatever feels right to you.
- Ask for guidance on how to look after yourself at this moment. “How can I best support myself right now?”.
- Your intuition will filter through as gentle suggestions that will be very personalized. It could involve another person, a book, an activity, or food. Wherever you’re at, it will suit your situation.
- Practice! The more you practice intuitive self care, the better you’ll get at hearing the guidance.
Intuitive self care is awesome as it really simplifies things. It means you only have one place to go when you feel unclear, overwhelmed or can’t do it all. It is always there, just waiting to be accessed.
You can read more about Intuitive Self Care at The Happi Empire.
Fran runs The Happi Empire and designs playbooks, journals and card decks to help you cultivate inner happiness in a holistic way. Pop over for a browse to see if there’s something that can support you on your journey.
Problem #10 Weight Gain and Emotional Eating
“Emotional eating” is a term used to describe the act of using food to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness, and loneliness.
It isn’t only major-life-events that can trigger negative emotions. More commonly the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating. These triggers might include:
- Relationship stress or conflict
- Stress at work (including long hours or night shift work)
- Financial pressures
- Health problems
Stress eating is a real phenomenon, and it affects us more often than you think. If continued over the long term, emotional eating can backlash leading to severe physical health issues.
Three of the best ways to deal with this problem is to:
- Keep a food journal. Write down when you eat, what you eat, and what you are feeling when you eat. This can help identify a pattern in order to be able to correct unhealthy habits and create awareness!
- Use Stress Management Techniques. Try actions such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing to calm your stress and decompress during the day. Using these techniques throughout the day to keep stress low will prevent stress build-up and the need to come home and cope by emotional eating.
- Healthy quick-food options. Keep snack options ready that you enjoy eating but are filling and low-calorie alternatives. For example, steamed cauliflower with shredded cheese or cut-up veggies with low-fat dip are good options. You can read this post about Tricking your Tastebuds for more ideas and food tips.
You can read more about emotional eating and how to tell if you are an emotional eater in the article Is Emotional Eating Sabotaging my Weight loss Goals? at SelfCarePursuit.com Sarah is the creator of Self Care Pursuit, which is a blog that focusses on mindfulness, intentional living, and life balance.
Problem #11: Consistency
When you’re starting a new routine, consistency is one of the most crucial pieces in your journey’s puzzle. Not only does it drive you to keep going through all of the growing pains, but it also allows you to really flourish and receive all of the benefits from your change.
The best motivation to stay consistent comes from a deep sense of purpose where you’re able to hunker down and latch onto something that truly resonates with you. When you have a clear purpose in mind, it becomes easy to shift towards a more long-term routine change.
To be consistent when you’re making your routine change, remember to ask yourself these three questions:
- What do you want to accomplish?
- By what method will you accomplish your objective?
- How will you know when you have accomplished your objective?
These three questions will not only help align you with your purpose but they will also give you true actions steps to stay consistent.
Keeping yourself accountable and recording/tracking your progress also plays a huge part in achieving your ideal routine. These can look like nightly reflections, journaling prompts, or even breaking down your goals into weekly actionable steps you can check off at the end of the week.
Consistency looks different to everyone and is not one size fits all. Having your goal aligned with your purpose will help you to determine what your limitations are and where you have the opportunity to grow.
Remember: when in doubt, start small and work bigger.
Patricia is passionate about helping other women hone their vision, focus their ambition, & prioritize their well-being. Her expertise is in helping women to achieve a bigger impact on personalized goals, nurture the fire that resides inside them, & guiding them through the process of figuring out how they show up in the world as their true, authentic self in every aspect of their lives. You can read more about How to Improve your Self Care at PatriciaJHancock.com
This article was originally published and compiled by Sarah at SelfCarePursuit.com, a website focusing on self care, balance, mindfulness, and intentional living. Visit her site for more resources and self care ideas!