Why your self-care routine isn’t working (and how to fix it)

I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you’ve been there. You see ads for ‘self-care’ solutions that involve buying something, adding something to your routine or doing/ being more. It seems harmless, but it’s really digging at the root of why you need self-care- YOU AREN’T CARING FOR YOURSELF! So marketers and capitalists use that to try to get you to buy something because they secretly know there’s a wound you haven’t healed yet- the wound of ENOUGHNESS. Let us remind you right here and now YOU ARE ENOUGH, and if you are having to use a face mask to ‘heal the perpetual string of bad days you’re having’ there’s more to it than pore shrinkage.

I’ve coined a phrase recently (yeah, I’m feeling pretty cool saying ‘I’ve coined a phrase’) that’s “New Age Narcissism”. Here’s my definition of it:

New Age Narcissism- The propensity to take a bubble bath over taking regular rest (and saying NO to things), buying a reusable tote bag instead of taking stock of what you already have and/or imbibing in cancel culture instead of asking for help and setting boundaries. 

A new age narcissist is someone who masquerades self-loathing practices or masks their wounding/ spaces needing to heal with new age capitalist techniques. By the way, if you see yourself in this, it’s not your fault, but it’s now your choice to change.

What’s on the other side of narcissism? A deep hole of self-loathing and scarcity mindset. If you are having to soak in CBD drenched epsom salt every night, if you are having to cut more people out of your life than you keep in, and if you are spending more on your ‘self-care’ budget than you are on groceries, HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM. All of this behavior is often from a forgetting your/our intrinsic enoughness. (NOTE: narcissism can be an actual disorder and I am not a therapist. If you feel you have this issue, therapy is a WONDERFUL tool to heal… and while we’re here, therapy is just great. If you’re able to engage in therapy- DO IT). 

Now the occasional bubble bath or Netflix binge sesh isn’t the devil’s work, but if you are having to regularly schedule in self care as a means of defense instead of offense, there are some bigger issues at play here. Let’s take a look:

  1. The CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE. It is you angel. It’s not your friend, or that f*d up relationship you were in, it’s you. You’ve got wounds to heal and possible trauma to mitigate. Take a deep look at yourself and where you might be putting bandaids over a gaping wound that need healing. (SPOILER for ways to fix your routine- ask for/seek help! You deserve to heal your wounds).  
  2. You don’t know your intrinsic worth. You are enough. The funny part about being human is that we spend most of our lives trying to remember this very simple, innate fact about ourselves. We spend so much money, time, energy and love on trying to gain enoughness when really it’s there all along.
  3. You’re ‘shoulding’ on yourself. Maybe you added that rose water sponge bath with a cacoa yoni vapor because all your friends are doing it and you feel you should. Maybe you are hitting the gym or going on a run every day -not because it feeds your soul or makes you feel better about yourself, but because you think you should. Perhaps that daily meditation routine isn’t because it actually does anything for you or you are committed to the practice, but rather you heard it will increase your productivity and so while you put lipstick on that pig, it’s just capitalism dressed up as ‘self-care’. 
  4. You’re masking your issues – that bubble bath and glass of wine are GREAT distractions from that phone call you need to make to your mom about the boundary she totally crossed. Buying that 15th bath bomb is way easier than having to deal with the fact that you need a break (longer than 10 minutes). It’s OK to have problems, and it’s ok-ish to mask them every once in a while- but eventually we have to deal with the things that are leading us to burnout and pain or they just keep showing up. 
  5. You aren’t RESTING. Rest is not prioritized in our culture, and even when we do ‘rest’ it’s at the expense of our wallet or our senses. Rest is considered weak or inefficient. Just cease that thought train right now. We NEED rest. 

When Marie Kondo came out with The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (which I highly recommend), I was struck with how much CRAP I own… and even more puzzling – how did I accrue all of it? Upon further analysis, I accrued all of it because I was trying to buy my happiness. As I held each sock and each item, it was astonishing how many times I have gone out and purchased something to try to hit the ‘high’ of enoughness. How foolish! I’m already enough!

We all do this. It’s a lot easier to click ‘buy’ on Amazon rather than sit with what already exists. The same goes for doing a mindless task v. a mindful one. While it can feel like self care to binge that show for 24 hours or sit in a bathtub and ignore phone calls, it may be an indication that we aren’t dealing with the behaviors, relationships, things and actions that are contributing to us needing self-care in the first place. A lot of this comes from constant conditioning of numbing or ignoring in order to survive. By the time we have numbed out and ignored to our breaking point, no amount of bubble baths are going to bring us down from the ultimate fight or flight response we will inevitably have.

So what does this have to do with yoga? Because yoga is the consistent practice of being your highest self. It takes PRACTICE to identify that it’s not a bubble bath that’s going to make you feel your best, but rather having that difficult conversation, leaving that job, eating the salad or taking the nap. It’s building in the offensive care so that we don’t have to be constantly defending our body’s right to exist as it is. It’s understanding that self-care isn’t a once in a while thing, or a thing we schedule because the other 23 hours of the day are constant crap, but that it’s a moment to moment practice. Self- care, as Audre Lorde famously stated, is a ‘radical act’ because it should be CONSTANT. The more we love ourselves, the more we can love others. The more we can love others, the more we will see that we are all one.

Enjoy the list below of ways you can course correct your self-care habits. Two not listed (but on the podcast):

  • get in community! We are social creatures (even if you’re an introvert like me) CALL someone, go to a group outing, come to our donation yoga classes! Get in relationship with other people. Community is DEEPLY healing.
  • KNOW YOURSELF. Journal. Meditate. Go on walks. (our favorite : practice yoga). Do whatever you need to do to really understand who you are and the patterns that contribute to your self neglect. From that space you will be able to consciously make choices that serve you rather than band-aid self harm.

Here’s to all of us taking true care of ourselves, so that we might be the best versions of ourselves yet.

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