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3 Myths and 2 Truths – Why is Self-Care So Hard and How Can I Overcome It?

October 2016


When people talk about their desire to add in more self-care practices into their day, it may sound good on paper but to actually implement it is an entirely different story.  Do you ever wonder why that might be the case?

untitled1Myth 1 – It is just too self-indulgent

Well the first point that comes to mind is the fact that self-care can sound a bit self-indulgent.  As if it is something only a few people practice.  Society has developed many myths about what self-care looks like.  How it only applies to those with the time and money to indulge in long baths, regular massage appointments and in general, laying around and not being productive.

Myth 2 – Self-Care is Selfish Behavior

To even consider possibly introducing some self-care practices feels selfish to many people.  The idea of putting yourself first ahead of others oftentimes goes against societal norms.  We likely have been around others who seem to always be generous and giving of their time and energy to meet the needs of others, while ignoring their own self-care.  We have conditioned ourselves to believe that this is the only way to behave in the world; that it is the honorable way to live and behave because it is just “the right thing to do.”

Oftentimes when I bring up the idea of adding in self-care practices with clients, they look at me as if I am from another planet.  They feel that my sense of reality is completely skewed and is out-of-touch with their roles and daily responsibilities.  Again though, this is because they have determined that self-care requires a lot of time, is indulgent and is even selfish.

Myth 3 – I Don’t Have Time to Check in With How I Feel

This concept can really feel self-indulgent to many who make the argument that taking breaks during the day is just too time consuming.  Maybe though, it brings up the idea that these breaks can be used to check in with how we are feeling.  It is possible that these feelings make us uncomfortable and unsettled which is why we keep ourselves busy as much as possible.  The busy schedule could be the glue that helps us to feel put together, productive and efficient in our roles as boss, employee, friend and parent.  To disrupt that pattern in any way could lead us to feeling vulnerable and compromised in how we operate in the world.

untitled2Truth 1 – I Need More Support and It’s Okay

Now let’s look at some truths.  Maybe the act of actually admitting we need to add in self-care is a rude awakening to be faced with.  Maybe in our minds, coming to this decision somehow reveals that we are not as strong as we would like to think we are.  But do we have to be strong all the time?  No way!  It really is okay to let our guard down from time to time, to let others know we need more down time, and to be honest with ourselves about what we need in order to have greater balance in our lives.  Hopefully at this point you are feeling a big sigh of relief.  Yes, all will be well if we let this belief go and as this belief becomes less and less dominant in our minds, new perspectives can come to the forefront.

Truth 2 – Taking on a New Perspective

Hopefully once we are able to take on gentler perspective about our own self-care needs, we can then move into a mental space where we are less critical of ourselves.  This can be a liberating experience where we can get creative in the process of deeper self-discovery.  Maybe you revisit your past interest in photography, or set aside some time each week to volunteer for a cause you are passionate about.  Maybe you simply commit five or ten minutes each day to sing, or meditate, or to do some light stretching.  The variety of activities and time commitment involved can be whatever you want it to be.  Self-care is on your terms and the benefits it can bring are limitless.  So where will you start and what pleasant experiences will you encounter?  How will adding in self-care activities add value and richness to your life?

Daniela Paolone

Daniela Paolone

Daniela Paolone LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist and founder of Westlake Village Counseling in Westlake Village, California. She helps those working through pain, illness, depression and anxiety either in the office or through online counseling which is done using a secure platform to ensure client confidentiality. Using education, helpful resources, unconditional support and understanding, she strives to help people transform their pain into power so that they can live their best lives! For more information please visit the homepage

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