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Self-Care ≠ Self Sabotage

Updated: Jun 13, 2022


by Joey Macari

#SelfCare is the buzzword that keeps on serving. It’s stamped on every pastel, Inspo-post, seemingly-self-effacing Instagram story, and exists in the zeitgeist of every overworked Millennial who can’t afford a mortgage but can, however, feed their overpriced coffee routine.

There’s nothing wrong with self-care in concept. Taking time for yourself, prioritizing mental wellness, and stepping-back from unhealthy cycles or changing things up every now and then is a good thing.

But have we abused its privileges? Maybe.

Though its intentions are pure, self-care can easily be warped into a kind of toxic positivity. A warped form of branding that screams, “Sorry, Taylor can’t come to the phone right now,” positive-vibes-only mentality.

As much as we would love some good juju in every part of our life, we also know that life is not so black and white, and is often filled with difficulties.

The difficulties exist so that good intentioned, much-needed forms of self-care can exist and not be challenged.

Understanding the difference between healthy self-care (therapy) versus unhealthy self-care (avoidance) is the first big step.

Healthy forms of self-care:

  • accepting our feelings

  • honoring our needs

  • creating boundaries

  • being assertive

  • making an informed decision

  • prioritizing our physical, mental, and financial health

Unhealthy forms of self-care:

  • Consistently self-isolating or canceling plans with close friends and family.

  • Gym grinds or strict-diets that make you feel more anxious and body conscious.

  • Adopting a cancel-culture mindset whenever someone/something offends you.

  • Putting off hard-conversations.

  • Relying on self-care rituals when you really should see a doctor or therapist.

  • Financially-depleting self-care rituals (excessive vacations, massages, retail therapy, etc.).

An easy way of going about this: analyze the real why, not what, of self care.

If you’re getting hung up on the what’s (ex. I have binge watched the entire second season of Bridgerton in bed today and I still feel anxious) try pinpointing why you felt the need to unplug to such extremes (ex. I may need to find a better work-life balance so that I don’t burn out so hard).

The why also has a contingency…the when. When you know it’s a day-off or when you don’t have obligations to family, work and friends…self-care the hell out of it girlfriend! But if you are needed by someone and you choose to self-care instead…c’mon, that’s just called being rude.

There is nothing wrong with binge-watches, and shopping-spree every now and then. But moving forward, make sure you know that your self-care is a more well-rounded, habitual representation of your needs instead of a bandaid over your problems.

Joey Macari is a writer and actor based out of greater New York City. She once fainted in front of Buzz Lightyear on a childhood trip to Disney World. Joey is a Libra Sun, Aries Moon, and Pisces Rising.

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