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When Self-Care is Not Enough

When you think of “self-care,” images of beautiful people practicing yoga and lighting lavender candles while drawing a bath often come to mind. We’re shown a form of well-being practices that, while helpful, only go so deep.

For those who experience minor struggles with stress and early stages of mental health challenges, they may find their needs met and addressed through simple actions, modifications, or education about a given subject. However, it’s important to recognize that deeper and more significant challenges with mental health often require much more than simple relaxing activities, and there are resources out there to help with that too. 

The challenge with addressing mental health is identifying the appropriate solution or care plan for individual needs. In the world today, we are bombarded with recommendations and suggestions from all directions promising solutions to all of life’s challenges. Many recommendations come in the form of self-care, like those listed above. While self-care can be an excellent first step on the path to achieving good mental health, for many it’s also necessary to identify tools, resources, and strategies to get the appropriate, holistic care that goes deeper. It’s important for people to recognize that simple actions may not always result in an immediate positive impact on their mental well-being, and it may be necessary to pursue professional care. Meditation, yoga, candles, deep breathing, and other common recommendations are wonderful ways to relieve stress, but we wouldn’t recommend these things for someone suffering severely. Let me put it this way: a band-aid from the medicine cabinet is a great solution for a scraped knee. But deep cuts need stitches from an emergency medical professional and require extensive wound care. 

My recommendation for those who may be struggling with mental health would be: 

  1. Take the time to learn what tools and resources are available to you. Some of these may come in the form of benefits available within your organization—use them! 
  2. Assess yourself and your situation and be realistic in how you address your needs. Do you need to take a breath and enjoy a relaxing afternoon? Do you need to talk things out with your support network? Or do you need professional intervention?  
  3. Know that it’s ok to not be ok. Seeking professional help for any of life’s challenges shows a strength that you can be proud of. 
  4. Don’t give up! Finding the best care plan can take time and a lot of trial and error. 

The more reassurance and information we can provide for our families, friends, coworkers, patients, and ourselves; the easier and easier it becomes to seek and find the appropriate care. My parting challenge to us all is to take time to learn more about what mental health resources are available and identify what the best option or options could be to meet your specific needs. 


The opinions and views expressed in this blog post belong to and are solely those of the individual author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Curi Advisory or Curi Advisory’s parent or affiliated companies or their members, insureds, clients, customers, or partners.