Self Care: What it is? What it isn’t? & How to tell the difference?

The main focus of this blog and my private practice is self care, it’s relationship with stress and it’s impact on us, our families and our world.

Self Care: 

What it is, What it isn’t, and How to tell the difference?

Many people may wonder – Why focus on self care?

Aren’t there other more important things to work on? 

Isn’t there enough “talk” about self care already?

Do we really need to talk about taking a bath or eating chocolate to relax? 

All good questions!

Self Care is both overly talked about and underrated as well as being completely misunderstood by most of us.

We all say we need to take some time for self care but that usually amounts to binging on Netflix or getting tipsy on the weekend. ?

Neither are real self care.

We all would like a quick solution, easy answer or magic pill to boost our self care and reduce our stress.


Unfortunately quick solutions, easy answers or magic pills don’t really exist in our world even if infomercials try to convince us otherwise.

But don’t despair, all is not lost. Making a few simple changes to your mindset, routine and heart can transform your life one day at a time. And before you know it you will have hope, healing and happiness back in your life with no room for negative stress. (Yes there is such a thing as positive stress! – more on this topic in a future post)

What is Self Care?

There is no one definition of self care. This makes it difficult to talk about as there is not a standard definition that everyone agrees on.

Self Care: care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.

Self Care: care for oneself : SELF-TREATMENT

Self Care: The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.

Self Care: the act of caring for yourself when you are ill or to stop yourself from becoming ill.

Self Care is generally thought of as encompasses the whole individual and is usually broken down into various aspects of self care. Some of the most commonly referred to ones are:

Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual

Other less common but equally important aspects of self care are:

Financial, Professional, Social, Cultural, Cognitive and so on.

Below is how I professional and personally see self care. This understanding shapes my private practice, blog posts and other sections and services connected to this website.

I view self care as a framework rather than a strict definition. Self Care can be broken down into several components:

Self Care is more a state of mind or intention then it is a set of behaviours or activities.

Self Care looks at the whole person, not just a part of them.

Self Care is healing and resilience building.

Self Care is unique to each person and is shaped by their own experiences, perspectives and values.

Self Care depends on the intention behind the action more than the action itself.

Self Care is a mindset, a firm purpose, a mindful awareness of what we each need in the moment to be fully functioning humans.

Self Care is not always about feeling good. The deeper purpose of Self Care is to bring compassion, balance and accountability into your life that positively contributes to your overall health.

This is the self care framework that will be explored throughout Time for a Healing Change website, blog and private practice.

What Self Care isn’t?

Self Care isn’t about indulging yourself or doing something that gives you pleasure. It is about doing things that will increase your overall health and well being.

Self Care is a mindset that focuses on increasing your overall health thru a conscious choice that is internally motivated as oppose to being externally motivated.

There is also stigma attached to the term and practice of self care in our society, as anything seen as putting your self first is looked at negatively. This coupled with the fact that sometimes people use the term self care to indicate a behavior that isn’t really self care has lead to a negative opinion of self care by some. This YouTube video by College Humor is a very funny, over the top look at this tendency:

And how to tell the difference?…….. in your life:

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are uncertain whether something is true self care, a coping mechanism, an unhealthy habit or just a waste of time.

1. Is it harmful to me, others or the world?
2. Will this bring my life into balance or at least closer to it?
3. Do I feel more peaceful, rested or inspired by the activity?

These questions are a good place to begin to start thinking deeper about self care and how you are utilizing it in your life.

Try not to overthink these questions, generally your gut instinct will give you the answer that is accurate in your specific circumstance.

Key Take Away:

Self Care can’t harm you or anyone else, if it does it’s not real self care. It isn’t about putting yourself first. Self Care is about balance. Your needs in balance with other people’s needs.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.”

-Les Brown