Self-care is a term we are all familiar with, but do we really know it what it means? Self-care can often be confused with self-indulgence. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to spot the difference between the two and develop a better understanding of what self-care means. 

Self-care is an intentional action to nourish your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Self-care contributes to personal growth, the development of a stronger identity, a heightened sense of self-awareness and a richer connection to the core of who you are. The intentionality that comes with self-care distinguishes it from an act of self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is often a spontaneous action, motived by emotional decision making and does not have a long-term positive impact. In other words, self-indulgence satisfies a person’s needs in the present moment but does not have lasting benefits.

The best way to distinguish between the two is to increase your awareness of how these actions impact you. If you are not sure if you are engaging in self-care or self-indulgence, ask yourself how is the activity/behavior nourishing you? Self-care will provide sustenance to your mental and physical health consistently and over a long period of time. The positive impact of self-indulgence, on the other hand, will be fleeting and may even lead to negative outcomes in the long-term. For example, many persons find comfort in shopping to boost their mood or gain confidence. If a person was to rely heavily on this as a form of self-care, the positive emotions following a shopping spree would fade and perhaps be replaced with negative emotions. 

This is not to say that self-indulgence is unhealthy. Life is all about maintaining balance and this especially applies to self-indulgence. It is ok to pamper yourself, to give in to spontaneous urges or to seek quick comforts every so often. Self-care will help you to maintain this balance by providing long-term outcomes in addition to the short-term of self-indulgence. 

I hope this blog post helps contribute to your understanding of self-care and assists you in practicing self-care.