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Self-Care vs Self-Soothing

Stress can occur any day, throughout the day. We all want to be our best selves regularly whether this is in work or our personal lives. Self-care practices can help us ensure we are on our A-game. However, there are times where we may not be able to get those practices in. There are times where we have so much stress that our bodies and minds shift to survival mode.

In these times it is important to have self-soothing, survival skills to get through stressful events, distressing periods, and move forward. A bubble bath, a glass of wine and a face mask can be a peaceful remedy to a stressful week. Some may call it “self-care,” but are we missing the mark for the real definition of self-care?

self soothing

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care should make you feel better when you’re done.

Self-care is different from self-soothing as self-care focuses on addressing basic needs such as eating healthy foods, exercising, taking care of personal hygiene, meditating, attending therapy, managing medical needs, and others. Setting realistic goals for yourself each day or creating positive self-statements for yourself each day could be considered as self-care

Taking care of your mind, body and soul is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Known as self-care, this practice goes beyond pampering yourself for 15 minutes a day. Self-care is a long-term process that builds confidence within yourself and allows you to make changes in your life to see yourself thrive. 

Self-care focuses on helping your future self and taking actions to benefit yourself days, months and even years ahead of you. This can be as simple as making small changes in your daily routine, such as waking up 30 minutes earlier to get your day started, or going to therapy once a week. Practicing self-care isn’t always easy. It can take time to build these habits, and at first, it can be uncomfortable or challenging, especially if you aren’t used to taking care of yourself in these ways.

Practicing self-care doesn’t happen overnight. Supporting your well-being is not a one-and-done type deal, and these tasks require motivation to turn into an ongoing routine. These habits and practices will take a while before you can notice their effects. Making your personal wellness a priority will make you feel more driven and motivated to accomplish your goals. 

The goal of self-care is to achieve a deeper level of self-acceptance and self-worth. Being at peace with yourself is not something that comes naturally and it is a struggle for many people. Not only does practicing self-care help you keep yourself in check, but it also helps maintain your relationships with those around you.


self care male

Ways To Practice Self-Care In Everyday Life

  • Journaling every night
  • Weekly Therapy, coaching or counselling
  • Meditation or guided hypnosis
  • Exercise or movement
  • Learning a new skill
  • Nourishing your body with healthy food and lots of water
  • Creating a budget
  • Writing goals
  • Vision boards
  • Making time for family and friends

What Is Self-Soothing?

Self-care is often used in place of the term “self-soothing.” Self-soothing is a short-term fix to a stressor. Blanketed under the action of self-care, a lot of people try to use short-term fixes to replace their personal well-being practices. While it is refreshing to engage in these quick remedies, they should not take priority over your own self-journey and care. 

Because self-soothing practices are short term, they most often are tangible items that don’t last forever. Things you can buy at the store, like snacks or candles, are marketed to consumers to be stress relievers. However, these items can become expensive and they only provide a distraction to your stressors, not to mention they can become an unhealthy coping mechanism if your spending or indulgence gets out of hand.

However, making self-soothing a part of your day in moderation can be recognized as self-care; there is nothing wrong with giving yourself some time to destress and relax! 

Kim Kardashian Mood GIF by E! - Find & Share on GIPHY

Here Are Some Ideas Of How Self-Soothing Looks In Everyday Life

  • Splurging on your favourite dinner
  • Doing your skin care routine
  • Going out with friends for a drink
  • Watching a movie in bed
  • Online shopping
  • Lighting a candle
  • Relaxing to music
  • Binge watching tv
  • Drug using


What’s The Difference?

So what is the difference between the two? Self-care focuses on building up resilience, and the ability to thrive and move forward, whereas self-soothing focuses on back-up skills for use within a crisis or when needing support to resist some type of negative urge. Self-care involves changing habits, which may not feel comfortable in the moment. However, the discomfort is followed by long-term benefits in areas of our personal and professional lives. Self-soothing is helpful when we need to move past something distressing in the moment. Your self-soothing skills are tools in your toolbox to use in immediate situations. It’s crucial to practice these skills so that your toolbox is at the ready whenever you might need it and you feel confident in the skills you have selected to use.


These are all practices that can be a great way to destress as long as these are practiced in moderation and you recognise what a healthy way to self-soothe is and what isn’t. Giving yourself a night off from studying or working once in a while is harmless, but missing class and calling it “self-care” or canceling plans last minute might not be beneficial to you in the long run.

Ultimately, it is important to use both self-care and self-soothing strategies to take care of your mind, body and spirit. Finding a balance and keeping your habits well-rounded are important steps to take on the journey to self-acceptance and love.

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1 comment

Easy Self-Confidence In 9 Steps - CherryDTV October 26, 2021 at 11:38 am



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