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Hi, I'm Shanice! I'm so glad you're here. I'm a mom of 3 (including twins), a self-care + time management coach, and a Communication professor. Her Guided Evolution® is a digital space dedicated to helping women make time for themselves and their personal growth.


Self Care Mistakes

Self-Care Mistakes

  1. Not defining self-care for you.
  2. Not being consistent with self-care.
  3. Assuming you don’t have time for self-care.
  4. Trying to avoid being perceived as selfish.

Resources Mentioned

In this week’s episode, Shanice talks about common self-care mistakes that hold a lot of us back. Self-care is often associated with expensive trips or luxurious massages. But honestly, self-care can be a lot more simple than that, and self-care is different for everyone. Listen to this episode to find out if you’re making these self-care mistakes and how you can be introspective about charting your own path toward well-being.

Full Text

I think of self-care as a set of practices or things you do that contribute to your well-being and bring you joy. And I think self-care probably looks different for everyone. Self-care for me is eating nourishing plant-foods, moving my body (e.g., yoga, indoor cycling, running), allowing myself to feel my emotions, doing things that will bring me joy, taking a few minutes to open Photoshop and designing a graphic or following a web design tutorial because I’m a creative person or things that I find relaxing like soaking my feet with Epsom salt and lavender. I think self-care is giving up instant gratification (e.g., scrolling through Instagram or eating Oreos) to do some yoga poses or doing some CBT exercises or journaling for my anxiety which will contribute to my long-term peace not just short-term pleasure. Of course, self-care may look like something different for you. Which leads me to one of the self-care mistakes I think a lot of people make:

1. One self-care mistake I think you could be making, is not defining what self-care is for you.

We all have different talents, gifts, and things that bring us joy. I think journaling for your emotional well-being, taking care of your body with movement and eating nourishing foods, some type of spirituality if that’s your thing, maintaining healthy relationships, these can be looked at as a baseline of self-care for most people. I have a self-care plan that you can use as a starting point (herguidedevolution.com/plan).

But this is meant to be just that—a starting point. I also think being in touch with our purpose and things that bring us joy, that’s part of self-care.And these are things you have to take the time and figure out for yourself. For example, some people love watching movies or getting lost in a TV show. But for me, unless it’s a reality TV show that I don’t really have to pay close attention to or a documentary where I am learning something (I really like documentaries because of course, I’m a nerd), I’m just not interested. I like designing, coding websites, that’s fun for me. But my husband on the other hand, he loves watching scripted TV. He hates watching documentaries because he’s a professor, and he’s like Shanice. “I literally read, research, teach, and write books about history for a living. I’m not trying to watch a documentary about Ronald Regan.” He is always watching multiple scripted TV shows, and that’s something he seems to really enjoy. I’ll get into a TV show here and there because that’s how he likes to chill and spend quality time.

But it’s rare for me to seek out a TV show and watch it on my own. There are other things that I’d rather do with my time. However, some people like my husband genuinely enjoy watching TV, and some people are really passionate about movies. So, think about what really brings you joy and think about what you find relaxing.

Maybe you used to play an instrument in high school, or you really like drawing. Some people like organizing, crafting, decorating, or planning. I am getting back into digital planning with my iPad because I love the creative aspect of it. You might like doing hair and experimenting with different natural hairstyles and makeup tutorials on YouTube (I like to do this from time to time). Maybe you like experimenting with different scents and essential oils.

So, think about the little things that bring you joy. What do you get lost in? What helps you forget time is passing? Not knowing that answers to these questions and not defining self-care for yourself is something that holds a lot of people back from committing to their self-care. Which leads me to another mistake that I think a lot of people make…..If you aren’t even sure what self-care looks like for you, and you don’t know what brings you joy, then you’re probably going to struggle with consistency.

2. Not being consistent with self-care is another mistake a lot of people make.

Let me give you an example, one of the things I struggle with from time to time is meditating consistently. I have found that straight up sitting down listening to meditation music or deep breathing for 5 whole minutes is a struggle for me. But what has helps me a lot is combining meditation with my regular yoga practice. I do a lot better with meditating consistently when it’s part of my regular yoga practice.

There are all different types of yoga. I typically do Vinyasa Flow or Hatha yoga when I want more of a strenuous body workout type of practice. These are more focused on movement, flowing from one pose to the next, combined with breathing, you can work up a sweat with these more easily. But I’ll do Yin or restorative yoga when I’m in need of more relaxation and more meditation. Yin yoga calls for you to hold one pose for like 3 to 5 minutes, and this is a time where you focus on your breath while you’re holding the pose. This is so relaxing and nourishing, and it allows me to be relax into a meditative state for a longer period of time.

But if I had just got stuck on this idea of a perfect meditation practice that works for someone else and thinking I have to do this unguided meditation and sit in silence for 10 minutes; I would have never discovered that I really love restorative yoga and this is a form of mediation that works for me.

It’s a lot easier to be consistent with your self-care if you figure out what you like and what’s your vibe instead of thinking you have to stick to a narrow template of what meditation or journaling looks like for someone else. Absolutely, use what other people do as your starting point, but tweak and find your own way because that’s what’s going to help you be consistent.

I think you’re much more likely to be consistent with self-care if it’s something that you enjoy and figure out what works for you. Another thing with consistency, is if you are looking for results from your self-care be it in the form of feeling calmer with your meditation practice, getting into the zone, or having more energy because you’re moving your body and eating well, you are not going to see those benefits if you aren’t consistent. If you simply waiting until you feel like doing yoga or journaling then it’s highly unlikely that you are going to see the results that you’re hoping to see from your self-care. It takes time and consistency to benefit from self-care and nourishing yourself in all these different ways. So, a lack of consistency is a mistake I think a lot of people make with self-care.

3. Another mistake is assuming you don’t have time for self-care.

This is a big one especially if you’re a mom or someone who is working full time and have a lot of other responsibilities. “I don’t have time” is such a common excuse for not committing to our self-care or healthy behaviors. I think it’s so common for us to lean into “I don’t have time” because it’s to blame being busy than managing our minds and (by extension our time) and putting in the work to be consistent. And what I want to offer here, is if you are managing your time effectively, I think the vast majority of us have time for self-care or whatever else we want to do.

Let me preface this and acknowledge that having any measure of free time and the resources to indulge in self-care is an immense privilege. A lot of people don’t have the resources to survive let alone think about self-care. I have to acknowledge this because I know this, and I don’t want to downplay that at all. But the women I am targeting with this podcast, your basic needs are more than likely being met.

You have some level of support, you’re smart, you’re more than likely educated, and you’re probably ambitious and health-conscious, so I am assuming a lot this applies to you. And we all have things that demand our time and different responsibilities. We all have varying degrees of childcare and careers. I definitely get it.

I work full-time (I’m a professor). I have three small children. I am working on building a brand, so I get it. When I get a moment to sit down, a lot of times I don’t want to do ANYTHING but just fall out on the couch and put my feet up and scroll through Instagram. I like to do things that I find relaxing like foot soaks and self-massages with sesame oil, but IG feels like the move some days. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

But I also think the cost of not being intentional with my time isn’t worth it most of the time. I think many of us aren’t intentional about how we are using our time because being intentional with your time that takes energy. Being intentional with your time requires emotional work and being aware of how you’re thinking. Most of us would rather distract ourselves by chilling on the couch and scrolling through Facebook or binge-watching TV. And like I said, I’m not knocking anyone for watching TV.

I used the example of my husband earlier. He genuinely loves watching TV, that’s how he chills out. But if you are a person that sleeps in until your kids wake up, clunks out at the end of the night after you put your kids to bed or after you finish your work for the day AND you feel like you’re wasting time procrastinating and you feel icky doing that, I think that’s a signal that you could be managing your time more effectively. So, a self-care mistake is assuming you don’t have time for self-care when you could actually be managing your time more effectively and intentionally.

4. Last, another self-care mistake is trying to avoid being selfish or being perceived as selfish.

This is where most people will tell you that self-care is NOT selfish. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people. Look, forget that. I think self-care IS selfish. Self is literally part of the word. It’s SELF-CARE. Y’all know I’m a Communication scholar and a critical scholar at that, so I like to unpack words and the meanings of words all day long. That’s what I do. So, I went to the dictionary.

Selfish, and this is from the Oxford dictionary, is defined as “lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.” Yeah, so that sounds pretty negative. I get it. No one wants to be thought of as being inconsiderate or only thinking about themselves. But sometimes, it is appropriate to be selfish. I think this is especially true if you are a member of a marginalized group. I hate this idea that women are often fed— “we have to be well-rested and take care of ourselves because we won’t be good for our kids or our partners if we don’t.” “You can’t take care of other people if you don’t take care of yourself.” I hate that so much.

Women, and Black women especially, we are not mules. You don’t only deserve rest and care because you have other people to take care of. You deserve it because you’re a human being, and this society is already unfair and unequal to us as it is. I think you have to be selfish sometimes!

Let’s say you decided to let the dishes pile up, so you can chill and soak your feet, I don’t know, whatever you do for self-care. When you decide to prioritize yourself in that moment, it’s probably going to feel like you’re being selfish. You’re so used to everyone lacking consideration for you and just waiting for you to clean the kitchen or fold the laundry, it’s going to feel icky when you take a moment to self-care. And the truth is, in that moment, when you’re letting the dishes or the laundry pile up, you probably are being selfish because you are not considering other people.

And that’s why I’m encouraging you not to automatically associate being selfish with something that’s negative. Any time you operate outside of that expectation of being considerate of other people, you’re probably going to feel bad about that because it goes against the way you see yourself, and it goes against our social order.

Black women aren’t supposed to be selfish and thinking about ourselves. But I want to stress, it’s okay to be selfish sometimes. I think it’s necessary to say, look, mama is a person. And I’m not cooking tonight, the kids are just gonna have to rock it out with the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches tonight, so I can give myself a pedicure.

If you are stuck in this loop of thinking—it’s selfish for me to take a break or take some time out for myself, you’re probably not going to be consistent with your self-care no matter how many Instagram posts you like about self-care or if you download my free daily self-care plan. I also want to point out, choosing to be selfish sometimes doesn’t mean that you are a selfish or terrible person. And I want you to consider, does trying to measure up to this idea of: I have to be selfless. I have to betray myself and what I need, so that other people can be comfortable. I want to you to consider if that thought process is serving you? Does that thought process feel empowering?

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Founded by Dr. Shanice Jones Cameron, Her Guided Evolution® is a digital platform dedicated to helping women (specifically moms) make more time for themselves. Instead of chasing productivity, the Her Guided Evolution® philosophy is aimed at helping women create more time for self-care, improving their mental health, and finding joy.

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