Why self-care isn’t a magical solution to coping & healing



For many of us, we try to cope by using various methods of self-care. Things like exercise, sleeping, baking, cooking, hobbies, cleaning, and more can all be considered self-care.

Some people may be wondering why they’re doing all of these things if they don’t seem to have any lasting change — they’re not feeling better.

While self-care can help us tolerate, get through, and cope with our situations, it’s not going to alleviate all of our suffering, emotional discomfort, or pain during a situation like this.

The unsustainable status of your life might be because of impossible expectations of yourself or others, the heaviness of our current social and political climate, declining health of yourself or a family member, or living out of alignment with your core values.

Coping skills and self-care are a band-aid meant to reduce the intensity of symptoms so that you’re able to do the work that’s needed to make real change in your life.

This what many of us get entirely wrong about self-care or coping strategies — they are not the solution. They are just there to help the pain you’re in be less acute so that you can address the root causes of the pain.

If you’re wondering how to gain clarity about your values and how they’re influencing your choices, try out these 4 tips.

1. Values sort.

This is an exercise where you try to identify your top 10 values from a larger list.

2. Examine your values.

Examine how your values line up with your day-to-day life.

3. Journal.

Write about your values each day and how you lived them.

4. Consciously choose your choices.

Try to remember that you’re choosing things all the time, and make those choices more in your awareness.

The more you learn to connect your day-to-day choices with your values and how you’re living your life, the more you notice when you’re living consistently with your intentional values and goals, or when you’re not.

If you find that your values don’t line up with your choices, this consciousness can help you find small ways to make changes.

If you feel frustrated often or that you’re being too hard on yourself or your loved ones, try these 2 tips.

1. List expectations.

It also can be helpful to sit down and come up with a list of expectations that you have for yourself and others.

Putting them in writing sometimes helps us realize just what we think we should be capable of and how unrealistic those ideas may be.

2. Re-create a more appropriate list of expectations.

Maybe you can use your other list plus your values list to help yourself create a more realistic version of your goals.

For example, if your expectation is to always be kind to your children, kindness might be a value of yours. With values, you want to just work towards them, rather than expect them of yourself all the time.