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10 myths about self-care that need to be busted

Self-care isn’t indulgent or superficial. In fact, it is great for your mental health

There are many benefits to having a regular self-care routine
There are many benefits to having a regular self-care routine (iStockphoto)

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While self-care may mean very different things for everyone, there is also a prevailing misconception that it is indulgent or superficial. However, this isn’t true. There are many benefits to having a regular self-care routine, and one of them is increased self-worth. With the International Self-Care Day coming up on 24 July, we speak to experts about myths around self-care and ask them to share the facts.

Myth 1: Self-care only involves pampering yourself

Fact: Self-care is a multifaceted process that involves consistent and purposeful methods to care for your physical, emotional, and mental health. Self-care includes hygiene, nutrition, environmental factors (living conditions etc), lifestyle factors (exercise and leisure activities), and socioeconomic factors.

Also read: 5 nutrition myths that need to be broken

Myth 2: Self-care is self-indulgence or overindulgence

Fact: Self-care is prioritising your physical and mental health

Myth 3: Self-care is all or nothing

Fact: Self-care is not always an entire day of pampering. It can be found in small moments of life, even 5 minutes of reflection.

Myth 4: We have to earn the right to practice self-care

Fact: We feel we only take good care of ourselves after we’ve hit certain goals. Yet self-care gives us the energy and nourishment we need to achieve great things and needs to be prioritised.

Myth 5: Self-care means choosing between yourself and others

Fact: When we meet our own needs, we have more energy to give to others. So, self-care is important for both others and ourselves.

Myth 6: Self-care means only caring for one’s body

Fact: Like your body, your mind, too, requires care. It is essential to allow your mind a chance to calm down, relax and reflect so that it can perform its absolute best.

Myth 7: You have to be extremely skilled to try self-care

Fact: Most self-care routines can easily become a part of your daily routine. Implementation of self-care techniques does not require an expert skill set but rather just a will to learn

8. Myth: Self-care is time-consuming

Fact: Actually, even a small amount of time dedicated to self-care, from grooming to exercising, can make you feel rejuvenated and refreshed. This can allow a person to actively pursue engagements and may even help save time.

Myth 9: Self-care is optional

Fact: Ignoring your self-care routine can make you susceptible to physical illnesses and increased stress levels, which can herald the start of anxiety, depression, and substance use.

Also read: Do fitness and nutrition trackers hurt or help?

Myth 10: There are no self-care tips for mental health

Fact: Sleep hygiene, digital detoxing and limiting screen time are some of the simple things which can be implemented to improve your self-care habits. Practising relaxation, yoga, and mindfulness techniques will also help.

Inputs by Tanu Choksi, psychologist & counsellor, Mumbai and Dr Kedar Tilwe, consultant psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital Mulund & Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi

Divya Naik is a Mumbai-based psychotherapist

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