The Concepts of Self-Care and Self-Soothing

I have been thinking more about the concept of self-care and have learned there is a concept of self-soothing that I was unaware of. 

Self-soothing is defined as activities that provide distraction or comfort during difficult times.  They make you feel better at that time.  They are for immediate benefit. Self-care is defined as activities that help you find meaning and that support your growth. They keep you grounded and are more for the long-term.

Everyone will have a different list.  In fact, some items might be self-soothing for one while it is self-care for another.  Take exercise as an example.  Some will use exercise or taking a walk as self-soothing, feel better at that time activity. Others will list it as self-care. For me, it is definitely on my other list. Either is fine, it depends on what is right for you.

Here are some Self-Soothing ideas for short term, difficult times:

  • Fresh flowers
  • Bubble bath
  • Journaling
  • Exercise, walking, etc.
  • Reading
  • Cuddling
  • Take a break
  • TV/U Tube binging
  • Cooking, baking
  • Day dreaming

Some of the items on my personal list are:

  • Accomplish a task
  • Eat frozen custard
  • Make a list

What is on your list? What do you do for distraction or comfort?

Here are some Self-Care ideas to help keep you grounded in the long term:

  • Meditation
  • Therapy
  • Napping
  • Take ownership of finances
  • Set and keep boundaries
  • Reading
  • Exercise, walking, etc.
  • Time for yourself
  • Connecting with a friend

My list includes:

  • Running, biking, hiking
  • Daily routine
  • Eating well

What do you do to support your growth and find meaning?

Take time to do some self-reflection and continue to grow as a person.  As you reflect on these ideas, are you good at doing both kinds of care?  Do you need to add more activities or spend more time on one list or the other?

For more on self care, read 5 Ways to Care for Yourself.

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