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When Self-Care Feels More Like a Burden

When self-care feels more like a chore than a pleasure, there’s something wrong.

Wendy Miller
5 min readDec 14, 2019


Self-care is about taking care of yourself. Making your life easier. Sometimes it’s the hard stuff, like exercising when you don’t want to or doing laundry or getting your car fixed. Other times it’s the indulgent luxuries, like manicures and bubble baths. And sometimes it’s somewhere in between.

But sometimes self-care feels more like a burden than a blessing. Maybe you’ve never enjoyed what you’re doing or maybe something you’ve always enjoyed as self-care suddenly feels like a chore.

Sometimes it’s normal to not really enjoy a form of self-care. Personally, if it’s not yoga, I hate working out. I don’t want to do it, and I have to work hard to actually do it. But despite how much I hate it, I don’t feel it’s a burden. I’m resistant to it, yes, but I know the benefits and I know I need to do it. So I might whine and complain the whole time I’m doing it, but once I’m done, I’m happy I did it.

But when it truly feels like a burden, there’s something wrong. When it’s something you dread, and you resist it and hate that you did it when it’s done, you need to think about what’s going on.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Self-care is supremely individualized

What one person enjoys as self-care can easily feel like too much work to another. Your self-care needs to be customized to exactly what you like and enjoy. It’s fine to ask for suggestions from others, look at lists of ideas, and experiment with different things.

But if bubble baths and manicures just don’t do it for you, you shouldn’t do them. If climbing the side of a canyon feels like the perfect self-care to you, then grab those ropes and shoes and go have a (safe!) blast!

The problem is that we talk so much about indulgent forms of self-care, such as manicures and blowouts, it gets ingrained in us that those are the kinds of things we must do. It even gives us the idea that self-care is only for women, when in fact, men and children…