Self-care has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years. We’re told that we need to do more of it, that it’s important for our mental health, that it’s a form of self-love. But what exactly is self-care and how is it different to maintenance?
For some, self-care means taking a bubble bath with a face mask on. For others, it’s getting a massage or going for a walk in nature. It can be something as simple as making time for yourself each day to just do something that makes you happy.
We've explored the differences between self-care and maintenance, and how to make sure you’re doing enough of both.
Maintenance vs. Self-Care: What’s the Difference?
Maintenance is all about keeping things running smoothly and preventing problems from arising in the first place; staying organized and responsive. It’s about managing the little things in life. Maintenance activities can include getting oil changes on your car, prepping meals ahead of time, or scheduling regular checkups with your doctor or dentist. It can also be shaving your legs, washing your hair or trimming your beard (we can all relate...)!
On the other hand, self-care should be more focused on restoring and replenishing. It’s about taking care of your mental and physical health, filling up your emotional and spiritual “cup” and feeling refreshed and energized. Self-care can include yoga and meditation, scheduling time for relaxation, journaling, spending time with friends, eating some cake, or taking a break from social media.
Why is it important to find a balance? It's important because it ensures that we’re taking care of both our physical and mental wellbeing. When we focus too much on maintaining, we can start to feel overwhelmed and even burned out. But when we focus too much on self-care, we can become unorganized and neglectful of our responsibilities. A balanced approach allows us to take time for ourselves while still getting all the things that need to be done.
Tips for Achieving a Balance Between Maintenance and Self-Care
Strike a balance between planning and spontaneity. Set aside some time each day or each week to do something that rejuvenates you, but also plan ahead to make sure the important things are taken care of.
- Give yourself time for both... Set aside time in your day for maintenance activities like household chores and errands and for self-care activities like exercising, meditating, or journaling.
- Treat yourself. When you complete a task, reward yourself with something that brings you joy. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be as simple as taking a break from work to read a book or watching an episode of your favorite show.
Maintenance activities you can do to help you stay organized. Use task lists, calendars, and other organizational tools to help keep your day running smoothly. If you need a calendar invite to remind you which day to wash your hair - do that, there's no shame in it (repeats to myself). Make as tight a schedule as you need and can stick to, and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your day.
Self-care activities you can do to help you unplug. Set aside a few minutes each day to completely disconnect from technology and recharge your batteries. Reflect. Setting aside time to process your day, and your feelings about it can be helpful in feeling your feelings and moving forward with new learning. Exercise. Taking some time to exercise is not only good for your body but can help clear your mind and recharge your batteries.
So where does body and skincare factor into this? Simply put, it’s maintenance – same as having your teeth and eyes checked annually, your skin is an organ that requires constant care to keep your body functioning optimally. Your skin deserves the absolute best care.
Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your day to day life. Making sure you find a balance between maintenance and self-care activities is key to keeping your whole life running smoothly while also taking care of your mental and physical health. Make sure to make both a priority and don’t forget to treat yourself when you accomplish important tasks.