How self-care can become a bad habit

In this podcast (episode #533) and blog, I talk about the difference between self-care and bad habits.

Self-care has become an overused term these days. Indeed, bad habits and addictions can often be disguised as "self-care," so it’s important to figure out the difference between true and false self-care. Here are 3 tips to help you make sure your self-care isn’t morphing into a bad habit: 

1. Understand the difference between short and long term habits.

A bad habit is a short-term escape from life’s stresses and problems. However, in the long run, it backfires and ends up piling even more stress on top of the original problem. Self-care, on the other hand, consists of actions that enhance your physical, mental, emotional, and financial health both now and in the future

2. Reconnect with your authentic self.

True self-care can help you reconnect with the authentic, true “you”. Anything that detracts from this is a bad habit, such as: 

  • If you find yourself avoiding the things you need to do, such as exercising or sorting out an issue with a loved one.
  • If you feel guilty, worried, or anxious about your actions because they do not reflect your values or goals.
  • If your actions and habits are damaging your physical, mental, emotional, or financial health.
  • If you are spending too much time with people who do not respect you and you find yourself changing and compromising your values.
  • If you cannot afford the things you buy. 

3. Know what true self-care is.

This is what I like to call the "true self-care litmus test":

  • You feel a sense of peace because you are doing what aligns with your sense of “youness”.
  • You don’t compromise by giving into immediate stress-relieving pleasures because you know you wouldn’t feel good about yourself in the long run.
  • You are taking good care of your mind, brain and body. 
  • You are looking after your financial health. 
  • You have healthy relationships with people who truly care about you, and with whom you can be yourself.
  • You are finding ways to have fun that you won’t regret later.

When it comes to self-care, an important question you should always ask yourself is “what would my future self think about what I am doing right now?”. True self-care means never having to say sorry to your future self. 

For more on self-care and mental health, listen to my podcast (episode #533). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).      

This podcast is sponsored by:   

Qualia Mind. Mind management is not just about controlling negative thinking. It’s also about building good habits that boost our willpower to achieve our goals and dreams, helping us live our best lives. Indeed, transforming our willpower and productivity can, in turn, transform TONS of life habits for the better, from workouts to job performance to major life goals! This is why I love taking Qualia Mind as part of my daily mind management routine. Neurohacker has combined 28 of the most research-backed nootropic ingredients on earth into the ultimate brain fuel formula, AND, it’s been changing people’s lives for years now! I noticed the difference in JUST my focus, my mood, my memory and my willpower to GET. THINGS. DONE. And I love that the formula is non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and the ingredients are meant to complement one another, factoring in each ingredient’s effect on supporting mental clarity. See what the best brain fuel formula on earth can do for YOUR mindset. Go to for up to $100 OFF Qualia Mind, and as a listener of Cleaning Up the Mental Mess use code DRLEAF at checkout for an additional 15% off any purchase.  

Podcast Highlights 

2:20 Self-care is not just about temporary relief

3:40 How true self-care empowers us to make long-term changes 

4:10 Self-care connects us to our authentic selves 

6:02, 8:25 How bad habits impact our sense of self 

11:30 Don’t compare your self-care routine to others 

13:13 The true self-care litmus test 

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.


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