The Biggest Self-Care Mistakes You Might be Making (And How to Stop)

Last Update on April 6, 2023 : Published on April 6, 2023
Self-Care Mistakes We Make

Can you be honest with me and tell me the last time you took your self-care seriously? Like, just tell me when was the last time you stuck to your self-care routine without life interrupting? I’ll be honest with you – there have been times in my life when I failed to stick to my self-care even though I had the time, the energy, and the tools.

You and I, we’re on the same ship, trust me. There are plenty of empty journals and exercise plans that are lying around unattended. We’ve all had some of these half-attended self-care plans as evidence. Every self-care mistake there is to make, I’ve made them, but I’ve also learned from them.

With time and patience, I carefully curated my current self-care routine and stuck to it too! Do you want to know what I gained? Well, in simple words, confidence and success.

If you’re here, then you know that you’ve been making some self-care mistakes and no longer want to see those half-attended journals and abandoned exercise/diet plans.

I’ve listed some common self-care mistakes we make – either unintentionally or intentionally – and tips on how you can avoid them! Let’s begin…

Common Self-Care Mistakes to Avoid

Common Self-Care Mistakes to Avoid

Self-care might look simple and it is simple, but even then there are some mistakes we make that turn out to be bad self-care habits. Here are some common self-care mistakes you need to avoid;

1. You Pick Activities You Don’t Enjoy

The biggest self-care mistake we do regularly is to pick self-care activities that we don’t truly enjoy. Some people want to wake up early and go for a morning jog at 6 AM, but when you look deeper, you realize that these people aren’t morning people and don’t enjoy what they do, but they do it because this is – as they are told – a productive morning routine.

Instead of doing something you don’t enjoy, pick activities that make you feel happy. Even if it’s something as small as reading a book or as huge as going for a massage.

2. You Go Too Hard From The Beginning

Another common self care mistake we make that constitutes bad self-care is going too hard and strong in the beginning. You may see some influencers on TikTok or Instagram going for morning runs or doing an extensive workout, but do you take time to realize that they are maybe not beginners to their routine?

If you want to start a new self-care routine, start slowly and then build it up. If you go too hard and push yourself to a strong routine, you’re more likely to suffer burnout and fail.

3. You Spend Too Much Money on Self-Care

Those bath bombs and those fancy-looking journals might look good and tempting, but don’t let those expensive-looking tools distract you from your goal. Self-care isn’t about spending money on things you don’t need. There are a lot of things and activities that you can engage in without breaking the bank.

If you want to engage in healthy self-care, then make sure you prioritize your needs over your wants. Bath bombs might make you feel happy but it might be temporary. Build a routine that can make you feel relaxed for a long time.

4. You Don’t Have a Flexible Self-Care Routine

Another biggest self-care mistake we make is to create a too rigid schedule and plan. The idea of a self-care routine isn’t to pressure yourself but to relax so try to have a routine that can be adjusted to your schedule and needs. Whatever your needs are, you need to have a routine that can be adjusted.

5. You Have No Self-Care Priorities

Priorities, even with self-care, are important. Instead of choosing a long routine, pick some things from your list and make sure you stick with them. For example, you can keep morning journaling, afternoon nap, and evening walk non-negotiable on your self-care plan.

Not having self-care priorities can make your day hectic when you don’t know if you’ll have the time out of your day to cater to your self-care plan and effectively care for yourself.

6. You Have High Expectations

Life is unpredictable and you can’t expect everything to go perfectly as you want. There will come times when you just can’t keep up with the consistency in life. If you have set expectations, then you’re very likely to end up disappointed if those expectations don’t come to pass.

Instead of risking eventual frustration, lower your expectations. One self-care activity is acceptable to none and sometimes, when life throws a curve, the simplest activities can be our savior.

7. You Use Self-Care as Self-Sabotage

Yes, this is a real thing. Self-care can become self-sabotage when you use self-care as an excuse to avoid doing something that you feel is difficult. Now, here’s an example you’ll relate to; “I skipped my morning classes because I needed some ‘me time’” While there’s nothing wrong with taking some “me time”, doing so to avoid something isn’t OK.

You need to understand that, sometimes, it’s OK to pause and choose what you feel is right at the moment. Just don’t let your self-care become an excuse for self-sabotage.

8. You Use Self-Care Reactively Instead of Proactively

Another common yet biggest self-care mistake we do is using self-care as a response to our emotions and not as regular exercise. Reactive self-care is when you engage in self-care because you feel vulnerable or needy. When you practice self-care only on your bad days, you miss out on the benefits of self-care such as reducing stress, becoming less overwhelmed, reducing exhaustion, and preventing burnout.

Self-care habits, when added to your everyday life, can make a small but huge difference in how you react to situations around you. Small activities such as meditation, walks, and even a healthy diet can all count as proactive self-care. Try it!

How to Avoid These Self-Care Mistakes?

How to Avoid These Self-Care Mistakes

Self-care doesn’t have to be so tough or tiring. If you’re making these self-care mistakes, then here are some quick tips you can use to avoid them;

1. Create a self-care routine that works for you. Don’t blindly follow the routines you find online or when someone shares their routine with you. What works for others might not work for you.

2. Use a self-care planner or a journal to keep track of your routine. This will help you avoid engaging in reactive self-care and focus more on proactive self-care.

3. Take some time to reflect on your current situation and allow some flexibility to your self-care routine. Identify what you need right now and adjust your routine accordingly. Keep in mind that going to therapy, talking to loved ones, and going on a walk all count as self-care.

4. Make sure you prioritize your self-care. It isn’t about checking off things on your list but taking care of yourself based on what you need at the moment. Choose self0-care habits that will leave you feeling relaxed (even if they take time) rather than picking activities that will overwhelm you (regardless of the time they take).

5. Practice at least one self-care activity every day. If need be, use a timer. Self-care is about intentionally taking care of yourself and if you want the routine to take, then make sure one self-care activity is on your schedule (even if it’s a small one) every day.

6. Lastly, make a healthier choice for yourself – mind and soul. Ask yourself if you’re doing these activities to soothe yourself or heal yourself. Your intention towards the self-care activities also decides the effectiveness of the same.

Wrap Up

If you notice yourself making these common yet the biggest self-care mistakes, then you need to reflect and adjust your self-care plans. Remember, self-care mistakes can leave you feeling exhausted and fatigued rather than relaxed and stress-free.

Self-care isn’t about blindly following what others do, but taking time and intentionally setting goals that suit you and make you feel cared for, even if they take time and don’t suit others. The idea of self-care isn’t to check off your list but to take care of yourself based on what you need in the present moment.

I hope this blog helps you keep the common self-care mistakes in check and avoid them in the future to create healthy self-care habits. For more, you can write to us at or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts and tips in the comments section below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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