Do I care to engage in self-care?

Question: I know self-care is important but just can’t do much about it .I wonder what comes in way?

Answer: Self-care is an indispensable element that needs to be incorporated in our daily regimen but for some reason several of us fail to inculcate it in our lives by not giving it the due recognition or failing to sustain to carry such practices in the long run. 

 Self-care can be viewed as one of the choices that people can proactively take in order to cater to their wellbeing. It acts as a buffer against stressor in life and helps in building resilience. We all make our own customized self-care plans but may fail to implement them. 


Questions: What are the barriers to self-care?

Answer: Let us reflect upon some of the barriers to self-care and check to what extent these apply to us:


Feeling guilty to take out time for self

  • Taking out time for self is often considered as a selfish endeavor and tends to instill guilty feelings in one. However, the truth is self-care practices are important for everyone as one needs to take enough care of self in order to function well in the long run. 
  • Unless one takes care of self, it would be quite difficult and challenging to look after others. So it is high time to prioritize yourself and keeps your needs in the forefront in order to function effectively!!

  • Inability to find time for self-care amidst busy life schedule

  • Although we all know the importance of self-care in relation to wellbeing, we fail to make it a part in our daily regimen as we struggle to find the time to fit self-care in between our hectic lifestyle. We all are juggling between different roles, responsibilities and commitments. If we can find out time for each of these aspects, we need to squeeze out some time and allocate it for ourselves amidst this hustling and bustling lifestyle.
  • Scheduling specific timings for self-care practices can be the initial steps which pave the way for further enhancement. It does not take long to practice self-care and there is always some time in our schedule. We just need to figure it out and focus on allocating time for self.
  • Starting small makes it easier to incorporate self-care in the busy schedule and helps to carry and sustain it in due course of time. Pausing and focusing on a small-time frame like 10 minutes on a self-care aspect could be a helpful step to make it a part of the daily routine. 
  • A bit of reflecting and planning could help in integrating at least some of the self-care acts into our other activities rather than requiring additional time (e.g., having a walking -meeting – a work-conversation/discussion while on a walk in an outdoor space rather than sitting down )

  • Lack of awareness of one’s needs
  • Being preoccupied with multiple needs focused on achievements and targets or on others’ needs, one sometimes forgets to focus on one’s own needs. It would help to periodically /weekly sit down to ask and answer ourselves: What are the one or two small things that I can try to do regularly in order to move towards feeling fitter physically and mentally?

  • No or less motivation for self-care
  • We at times fail to find enough motivation to start the journey toward self-care practices. In the beginning, self-care may seem like a mammoth task
  • Try staring with a small list of activities that you wish to incorporate in your self-care journey without feeling overwhelmed by the task at the first place. Break your self-care regimen into small steps and take these small strategies in a consistent fashion to increase the motivation for the self-care journey. Most importantly, pat yourself on your back for taking those mini-steps, accept some mis-steps and expect days when you miss out. Its Ok to have some lapses here and there, some ups and downs – the key is to plan wisely and re-start each time you notice a break rather than berating and pulling ourselves down.


Self-care, thus, is imperative and needs to be implemented by immersing oneself in activities that rejuvenate and refuel oneself in healthy ways, thereby developing kindness with oneself when faced with debilitating stress, burnout and paves the way for positively relating with oneself and moving forward towards achieving holistic wellbeing. Keeping a check on the barriers for self-care can be helpful in promoting self-care practices in future.




 Upama Pal

 Ph.D. Scholar,

 Dept. of Clinical Psychology,

 NIMHANS, Bengaluru.