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Overthinking Self-Care

Overthinking Self-Care

by Amanda Smith, LCSW

Self-care isn’t as complicated as we make it out to be. I can’t tell you how often I hear people express legit anxiety about not feeling like they practice enough self-care. The thing we do to help alleviate anxiety somehow becomes the thing that stresses us the most. It’s pretty counterproductive if you think about it.

In its simplest form, the term “self-care” means “taking care of yourself.” There’s not much more to it than that. Somehow, many of us have put a lot more weight on the phrase, making it into something much bigger than it should be. We tend to think of self-care as something specific that we have to do, usually expensive and time-consuming. Then when we don’t have the time, energy, or funds to make it a reality, we end up shaming ourselves for not practicing good self-care. “How can I find time to practice self-care?” we ask. “How do other people do it? What do they have that I don’t…” The shame cycle becomes endless.

If you’ve ever found yourself caught up in this overthinking spiral of self-shame, there are a few things that can help you get unstuck. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we focus a lot on changing the way we think. One way to do this is to pause and reframe your thoughts. When you catch yourself overthinking self-care, take a second to reel yourself in and ┬áremember that the definition of “self-care” is, quite simply, “taking care of yourself.” You take care of yourself all of the time, every single day. In fact, you are taking care of yourself right now reading this post about self-care.

Give your brain a break from overthinking such a simple concept. The next time you find yourself spinning in the self-care shame cycle, hit the pause button, reframe your definition of self-care, and try making a note of all of the ways you take care of yourself. You’ll probably find that you already practice way more self-care than you thought.