There are so many memes about self care. There are checklists, tons of suggested activities to do and beautiful images of serene hammocks by the ocean. Of course I want a hammock with an ocean breeze. But is it self care? Not necessarily.

In words from “Body Kindness” by Rebecca Scritchfield, the idea of self care is truly rooted in one question: “Is this helping to create a better life for myself.” What’s important to note here is that we are talking LONG TERM when self care is the focus. Self Care is about creating the LIFE you want. Self care is not about the short term, it is about the long term health of your body and overall love for yourself. Self care is continual. It is the little things you do every day that create a better life for yourself in the long term. It may be things that give you comfort in the short term but true self care are the things that help you create the life you want in the long term.

Self comfort answers yes to the question “will this make me feel better right now?” If the answer to this question is no, but I will feel better right by doing this, then you are practicing self comfort not self care. And that is ok, but be aware these aren’t the same two things. Self comfort is extremely needed, especially right now when the world is still up in arms and stress and confusion is everywhere. For me self comfort may be having a glass of wine while I take a bubble bath. The wine is self comfort while the bubble bath is self care. I know the drinking alcohol makes me not sleep as well. I also know that it keeps me from my body weight goals. But sometimes that glass of wine helps me numb and on some days I choose to numb because I don’t have anything left in the tank to build the life that doesn’t need numbing which is the long term goal. So in those moments I accept and am grateful for the self comfort and know that tomorrow when I am in a better head space I can once again go full in choosing steps that create the long term goal of a wonderful life.

Being kind to myself is never wrong. But some actions that may illicit comfort may keep you from your long term goals. So give your “self care” list a good look over and ascertain which are true self care options and which are self comfort. Keep all on the list of things to be kind to yourself but be aware when your self comfort is for the short term good versus when the actions are helping you create a better life.