Why Self-Care Isn’t Always About Relaxing

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a person interested in starting her self-care practice.

I was tabling as a vendor at a wellness event and got a chance to speak with her one-on-one. She was so excited about learning what self-care was and was eager to learn more.

“Tell me more about your blog!” she exclaimed. “I’m always looking for new ways to relax!”

woman sitting on chair near laptop computer

Photo by on

She shared with me that her idea of self-care was getting a manicure, buying herself treats and taking naps. I would agree, these are definitely different ways of practicing self-care right? Right.

When I spoke with her about some of my blogs about boundaries, relationships and mental health, she scratched her head. “Huh? What does that have to do with self-care? That’s not relaxing.”

My conversation with her led me to writing this here blog post — Self-care is most definitely, not always about relaxing.

person holding white ceramic mug with lemon near book and sliced bread on white comforter

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on

As we address the myths and trends with self-care that come up in our media messages, there’s an idea floating around that taking breaks, getting enough sleep and resting is self-care in its entirety. And for some folks, this is truly an essential part of their self-care journey (raises hand).

But, I want to gently clarify that self-care includes more than finding the space and time to relax. And this is so important for us to recognize because, for us to show up as our best selves every day, there’s more to caring for ourselves.

women and man on sofa

Photo by Jopwell x PGA on

Honestly? Sometimes, self-care is a part of adulting. Caring for ourselves and meeting our needs on a regular basis isn’t always fun, comfortable or easy. Self-care includes doing, planning, organizing and maintaining several parts of our lives.

When practicing self-care, it helps to be mindful of what your needs are on a regular basis. And some of these needs include:

  • Learning your nutrition needs
  • Scheduling your medical care visits
  • Receiving mental health care
  • Creating boundaries with your coworkers
  • Holding yourself accountable
  • Managing your time

When reflecting on your self-care plan, try thinking about what your current needs are and if your self-care practice includes ways to meet those needs. Sometimes you may need to update your self-care plan or start from scratch and create a new plan.

person holding pen and planner

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Be mindful that our self-care includes taking a look at our whole selves and taking care of our individual and relational needs as much as we can. While relaxing is certainly part of self-care, so is maintaining your hygiene and making sure you’re managing your stress.

I’m so glad I had this conversation with the young lady I met. Because the more we discuss self-care, the more accessible it can be for all of us.

Do you think self-care isn’t always about relaxing?



  1. Cassandra says

    For me, knowing that hanging out with friends more than once a week is a no-go. Once a week is plenty, so just knowing that about myself and placing that type of boundary is beneficial. 🙂

    • Michelle says

      It is such a wonderful thing to recognize your own limits and boundaries. Thank you for sharing Cassandra!

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