Self-Care Mistakes Most People Make (& How to Avoid Them)

Posted on: February 3, 2020, by :

To truly benefit from self-care practices, you need understanding, motivation, and adaptability. But setting and achieving self-care goals can be challenging. Sometimes it seems as if everything else must have your attention and energy, often leaving you with little time or motivation to care for yourself. You know self-care is important, but the demands of each day make it easy to put off properly caring for yourself.

Why is taking care of ourselves so hard?

My decades of experience have taught me that self-care, like everything else that’s critically important in life, comes down to one thing: motivation. You should stop feeling guilty over not consistently eating healthy, getting your steps every day, or sleeping soundly each night—you need to address the underlying problem. Either you don’t have the motivation to realize your self-care goals or you haven’t set any.

Don’t stress, I’ve identified three common self-care mistakes most people make and offer strategies to overcome them. Take the suggested actions, and you may have a deeper understanding of why you prioritize the way you do and how to adjust your thinking and actions to ensure you take care of your responsibilities and yourself.

Three Common Self-Care Mistakes

  • Confusing self-soothing with self-care
  • Putting everything before our own care
  • Not investing the time in self-care activities

Confusing self-soothing with self-care

Self-soothing activities might make us feel good in the short-term but they seldom sustain us for any length of time. Self-care is about taking action to support our development. In comparison, self-soothing may lead to other problems such as dependencies, negative habits or poor health. Self-soothing activities might involve comfort food, alcoholic drinks after work, or smoking after stressful meetings.

Try this to overcome confusing self-soothing with self-care: before taking action, ask yourself if what you are about to do contributes to your mental, emotional, or physical health and if it does its probably self-care, and if it doesn’t, it most likely isn’t self-care.

Putting everything before our own care

Many of us have so many responsibilities that it’s easy to stay busy taking care of others and completing tasks instead of prioritizing our care. Too often, people that function this way end up dealing with problems as they arise rather than taking proactive steps to do the maintenance that can prevent problems—they end up being reactionary, frazzled, and stressed. Doing maintenance requires planning and discipline.

Try this to overcome putting everything before our own care: use a monthly calendar to provide you a way of looking ahead. You can use two or more calendars such as one for days to remember for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and one for medical, maintenance, and social activities.

Not investing time in self-care activities

Caring for ourselves takes time, and between our work and family commitments we are often so pressed for time and cannot imagine adding anything else to our schedules. Sacrificing our care results in less energy and focus to accomplish what you set out to do as well as functioning at lower levels. Self-care involves recognizing the importance of taking care of yourself and deciding that you and your health are worth the investment in time.

Try this to overcome not investing time in self-care: Try planning time for yourself weekly. During the weekends, do a look ahead and decide which activities you will do during the upcoming week and put them on your calendar.


Do you want to learn how to set and achieve your self-care goals? What are you doing to improve your wellness right now? Let’s talk, reach out to me today.