Why self care days aren’t for me

Self care days are the latest trend.

Taking a day, or even a week, to look after yourself has a increasing online presence. You only have to scroll through twitter for a few minuets before you’ll see a post about someone talking a ‘self care’ day.

I can 100% understand why people are taking these day off. We’re living in a increasingly stressful environment. We’re constantly available thanks to our mobile phones, and always under scrutiny due to social media. Not to mention, work loads are increasing and hours in a day just seems to be getting less and less. It’s really hard just to catch a break, isn’t it?

As a student who works part time, even I can feel the pressure to working at your max all the time. I dread to think what it’s going to be when I leave University and am in full time work.


I’ve taken a few of these self care days in the past.

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but they’re just not for me. They just don’t seem to do the trick.

Uncomfortable heaviness clings to me at the end of these days.

Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong, but for the most part I come away from these days feeling worse than what I started. Sure, I feel recharges, but I feel a bit heavy.

There’s something that sparks guilt in me when my mun and brother are doing the house work, or doing the shopping and I’m sitting at home having a ‘self care’ day. When I know that there is so much to be doing round the house, that my mum is tired and not really up to cooking tea that night, I can’t help but feel guilty.

For me, a self care day feels like I’m just being selfish and I don’t like that. A day to watch others do the work that you should be doing, feels wrong in my eyes.

Is this opinion true for everyone? No, not in the slightest, sometime people need a self care day. But just because something works for you, doesn’t mean it has to work for me. From what I have experience in my own life, there is a bit of an edge if you tell someone that you don’t partake in self care days anymore.

I’ve found that most people think that I’m not taking part in them as a form of self punishment. Some people say that I’m a workaholic. Others think that I just can’t switch off. Maybe these are true on some days, but 99% of the time, this isn’t the case.

They’re simply not for me.


So if I don’t take self care day, what do I do?

I take a day off.

You heard me right, I will take a step back from the whirlwind that surrounds me.

I don’t have a long bath, I don’t sit in a blanket and binge watch YouTube videos, I don’t paint my nails, I won’t put lotion on my body, I won’t absorb a book in one sitting.

I have a productive day.

But that’s not looking after yourself right? How can doing things give you time to rest and recharge? How can setting myself goals to achieve every single day possibly give me the head space to keep going?

It’s simple, I changed my view on what being productive means.

The definition of productive is to produce a large amount of something. You say you’ve had a productive day when you’ve cleaned your room top to bottom, done that assignment that you’ve been avoiding and replied to all those emails that you’d rather miss out. That’s our view on a productive day, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Those days are great.

But for a day to be productive, you don’t have to do loads.

When I’m running on empty, I don’t want to do anything. I want to nap and watch YouTube videos. But it’s these days when I feel guilty for doing nothing. So instead of pushing myself to burnout and not being any use to anyone, I give myself one challenge.

On those days I have to achieve one task.

It doesn’t matter if that one task is to clean my room, reply to emails, write a blog post, do the washing up, go to the store and get shopping, anything. I just need to do one proactive thing that day.

If I find that by lunchtime I’m a little more relaxed and rested, I’ll challenge myself to a second task and maybe a third later on, but that’s rare.

My approach to a step back days is by no means the same as the days I’m ill and not well. If you’re sick, you rest. That doesn’t matter if you’ve got the flue or you’re depressed, or you’ve broken your leg. If you’re ill, you look after yourself. I will admit that I am terrible at this, taking a day off is just not in my nature. But please don’t mistake my lack of self care days as me saying that you don’t rest when you’re ill.

I do find time to rest and charge up my battery’s. Being an introvert is hard work. I also appreciate that we’re in a time where people are stressed and at their limits 90% of the time. But spending a day doing nothing at all unsettles me. Maybe I am a workaholic in the making but I’m learingin what does and doesn’t work for me, and a self care day just isn’t for me.

This doesn’t mean I won’t have rest days, it doesn’t mean there won’t be days where I curl up in a blanket you watch YouTube videos or read a book in a day. I still very much intend to keep these days and have no plans to stop. But I no longer want to be trying to make the fact that I’m struggling sound less painful for everyone else. I won’t cover it in flowers by saying I’m having a self care day.

I’m in a battle with my mind and that’s not pretty. So why would I want to dress it up as something pretty? If I need a day off I think it’s best if I’m honest with the people who need to hear that, wehter that’s my tutors at college or even my family. Saying I’m having a care day does not give anyone a glims intp what’s happenig and that’s not going to be any good for me.

So no, self care days aren’t really for me. However, taking respoisiblity for my work load and how I respond to it is something I agree with.

As I said before, just because something works for you, doesn’t mean it has to work for me. So if you find you need a self care day, you go for it. Look after yourself, your health is important. If you need a bubble bath and candles you go for it, bubbe are amazing. But it’s just not for me, and that’s ok.

All photos taken at Liar Liar coffee-shop. They do some yummy food 🙂

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