Does Self-Care Make You Anxious?
Lately, I’ve been noticing a bit of a social media rebellion over the term “self-care” (especially in relation to dealing with anxiety or depression). Like other trendy “buzzwords,” I have often thought that the term “self-care” is used so much in our culture that it feels almost meaningless. It seems that every activity from manicures and bubble baths to exercise and specialized diets falls under the self-care rubric.
A friend and fellow Anxiety Sister is really struggling with the whole concept. To her, self care can be watching Netflix while eating her favorite ice cream. Or it can be going to the gym. Either way, too often she finds herself feeling worse—either about “indulging” herself or not pushing herself hard enough. “Self care just isn’t good for me!” she said.
Like my friend, many Anxiety Sisters find the cultural prescription for “self care” to be anxiety-provoking. Self care activities become additions to our already overly ambitious To Do lists and we feel a sense of failure when we cannot get them done. As if we do not already cope with enough BS (blame & shame)!
However, if we reframe the concept of self care (and rename it too), it can take on a different meaning. I like to think of the term “self connection” rather than self care. When we can connect back to ourselves, we replenish our energy and clear our busy minds. And connection is not as loaded a word as “care.”
Self connection, therefore, doesn’t have to be an activity or event (although it certainly can be—needlework is one way I connect with myself and Abs likes to color). It may involve something as small as taking a few deep breaths or cuddling with the dog. It may also be spending time in nature, praying, saying a mantra, or visualizing a special person or place. Self connection is not about doing things other people think will make us feel better. Self connection is about finding ourselves, even just for a moment, in the midst of all our challenges.
When we are feeling overwhelmed and cannot find ourselves, self connection can be about asking for help (or giving help to someone else). Expressing gratitude or forgiveness can also help us reconnect. As Anxiety Sisters, we often say “don’t go it alone,” and we truly believe that connection with ourselves and others is so healing for all of us. So, if self-care is beginning to feel like a chore, try “self-connection” and see if that works better.
Thank you so much for sharing. I really like the idea of “self-connection”, our self-connection affects all aspects of our lives. If self-care brings you some anxiety, its important to remember you can start SMALL.
Hello – I do agree with you about the implicit nature of the word care, and whilst I think it’s important that we do care for ourselves (I always say “let’s care about ourselves as though we were someone (else) we love”) I love your suggestion of “self-connection”. I always like “self prioritisation” as that’s a difficult concept for many.
Love this! Thank you 🙏
You are so welcome!
Abs & Mags
I like this a lot, I like how you define “self care” or “self connection” as connecting back to ourselves. I will definitely keep that in mind next time anxiety kicks in. I also like how you say that it can also be asking for help when you cannot find a way to recenter yourself. I actually did that yesterday, I was running on empty and feeling anxious about having everything sorted out so I asked my partner to take over. He had been working all day and I was home all day, I said I couldn’t make dinner tonight, I was sobbing on the phone he said alright don’t worry I’ll grab some take away. He knew he wouldn’t have any leftovers for lunch the next day but he didn’t care. The time I would have spent making dinner, I spent pampering myself. He came home with food, my cup was full again and we had a great time together. It doesn’t sound like much but it meant a lot to me.
Hey, I like your Article, its very nice… Thanks for the sharing lovely information.
What a lovely post explaining what exactly self-connection means. It is really a unique and practical thing that you have told us. I have had anxiety issues and I used to do all types of stuff 2 like meditation, deep breathing and I even used the CB2 oil for sleep because my sleep was badly disturbed. In self-care, finding help from someone you love is good and there is a line that we don’t have to take so much care that we become lazy or unproductive. I think being in motion and moving around so physically or mentally we are active is a better thing to do. Well, thanks for all the information you have shared.
I am very impressed with your writing, because your writing really helps me provide the information I need.
Dr. Julia A. Andre
I Love This Article. Thank You!
I’m Dr Andre from Hong Kong. Psychologist and Accredited Clinical Supervisor, Mainly focus on shaping awareness and facilitating understanding of problematic behavioural patterns and healing trauma, which lead to prolonged suffering and evoke distress. With the appreciation that each client is unique, her therapeutic approach is flexibly adapted to personal needs and symptomatology.
This is a great read. Relating “self-care” to “self- connection” is a great way to live life. Anxiety can be triggered by anything. I personally feel self-connection is a beautiful way to identify what makes you comfortable and calm.
I love the idea of “self-connection!” When I’m not anxious (and I am frequently) I can say “self-care”, but anxiety makes me feel bad about myself. Have your book and audio book…love them. Thank you for giving us anxiety sisters a place to go for “connection.”