Can self-care hurt us?
Posts advocating passive self-care – taking care of yourself by not doing much – abound on social media, much to the delight of the most lazy among us.
Have you recently seen a meme of someone who was most happy to have their evening plan cancelled, thus “forcing” them to sit at home doing nothing while eating popcorn? It's normal, these publications which advocate self-care passive – the fact of taking care of oneself by not doing much – abound on the networks social, to the delight of the most lazy among us. However, can they lead to slippages?
Basically, the benefits of self-care are important and numerous. According to an article by Matthew Glowiak of the University of Southern New Hampshire, “Committing to a self-care routine is clinically proven toreduces or eliminates anxiety and depression, decreases stress, improves concentration, minimizes frustration and anger, increases happiness, and improves energy,” among others. From a physical health perspective, taking care of yourself would reduce the chances of suffering from heart disease, strokes and even cancer. a two liter of ice cream and binge-watcher six hours of Netflix, is that really self-care?
For occupational therapist Sophie Germain-Lacroix, taking care of your mental health is rather “taking breaks during the day to see how you feel, what your needs are, and what you need to put forward to feel good. The goal is not to wait several months to realize that we are not well, that we are overloaded, that we are moving forward on automatic pilot having lost the sense of our daily life”.
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Risk of letting go?
If the attitude put forward in these funny memes that encourage us to stay wrapped up in our Snuggie < /em>seems harmless, it can also lead to a harmful and perpetual letting go, believes Jacqueline Arbogast, psychotherapist.
So in the name of self-care, people could decide to do the couch potato for days and eat only junk food while watching tasteless reality shows, without leaving their homes. A drift that Ms. Arbogast has already observed among her customers.
“People don’t know the difference between listening to themselves and taking care of themselves. There are nuances to be made, she underlines. Especially since it is complicated for people who have this kind of letting go to regain control. Some blame themselves, punish themselves by continuing to let go, telling themselves that it is too late to recover. There is a risk of falling into a vicious circle.”
And, combined with poor diet, physical inactivity is “the second real cause of death after smoking in the United States,” recalls Martin Juneau, cardiologist and chief prevention officer at the Montreal Heart Institute.
The psychotherapist stresses that it is important to listen to our desires but also the needs of our body and our mind. The self-caremust, according to her, allow an introspection that leads people to become aware of what is good or not for them. “In wanting to take care of themselves, some fall into something that is no longer taking care of themselves [since they decide to switch off their brain rather than stimulating it with behaviors that really make them feel good].”  ;
The vast majority of people, however, would be able to find the right balance between rest and stimulation and then naturally do what is good for their physical and mental health. “If your definition of self-care is listening to Netflix and eating badly, there can be setbacks yes, but if you really listen to yourself after two weeks of nurturing bad habits, you won't be well. Normally, you will want to move on to something that will allow you to recharge your batteries, ”says occupational therapist Sophie Germain-Lacroix.
The specialist also draws a parallel with intuitive eating: “If you just eat chips, yes at first you will eat the whole bag, but at some point you will feel bad and you will want to eat less.”
But if people enjoy being parked in their chairs eating crisps, there is no problem either, thinks nutritionist Marilou Morin. “Everyone is in control of their body and their decisions,” she argues.
Ms. Morin, however, warns: if we observe a loss of pleasure in these habits generally considered unhealthy and we no longer manage to reintroduce socialization and good habits, we may be facing a depressive episode. . It is therefore strongly recommended to ask for help.
Self-care is not everything
Another risk associated with promoting passive self-care on social media is that people think that doing nothing is their only option to get better and feel fulfilled.
To lead a balanced life, there are eight aspects to consider according to occupational therapist Sophie Germain-Lacroix: activating your body and mind, creating connections, contributing to society, developing and express their personal identity, develop their abilities and potential, experience pleasure and joy, build their prosperity and… take care of yourself by remaining attentive to your daily needs.