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Self-Soothing vs Self-Care: What are the differences? 

self soothing vs self car what are the differences - 21st-century-eap.jpg

By: Frances Musone, MSW Intern

Self-soothing? Self-soothing is about feeling good now.

It’s what you can do to calm yourself or distract yourself from what is going on at the moment. It’s getting you through the moment or providing some stress relief. This could be watching TV, listening to music, or going to Starbucks for a fun drink.

Examples of Self-soothing:

  • Binge-watching TV
  • Eating your favorite meal
  • Treating yourself to a fancy coffee
  • Having an alcoholic beverage
  • Retail therapy
  • Cuddling up in a cozy blanket
  • Listening to music on the way to work
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Making time for friends and family

Self-care? Self-care is promoting your well-being.

Self-care is the totality of how individuals can best meet their physical, psychological, social and personal needs in daily life to keep themselves feeling good in the future. Self-care activities would be setting and maintaining boundaries, prioritizing sleep, practicing mindfulness, and even small things like refilling a prescription. Self-care is what you do to take care of your physical and emotional health.

Examples of Self-care:

  • Taking a social media break
  • Filling your prescriptions
  • Getting regular checkups
  • Eating nourishing foods
  • Staying hydrated
  • Going to therapy
  • Setting up a budget
  • Practicing meditation or mindfulness regularly
  • Exercising and Movement
  • Making time for friends and family

Wrap-Up

Many of us believe that self-soothing is all of self-care, but in fact, it is just a component of self-care. We need to ensure we are continuing to take care of ourselves beyond just self-soothing. Eating a piece of chocolate might feel good and help in the moment but it is not going to care for yourself for the future in the way that setting and maintaining healthy boundaries at work or home does. Self-care shouldn’t be reactive either. It’s important to be proactive and find solutions that work best for you.

April 5th is National Self-Care Day. If you don’t have a good self-care plan, consider setting aside some time to prioritize yourself. Your future self will thank you!

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21st Century EAP

Providing EAP services in the Allegheny County and Greater Pittsburgh region for over 15 years.

Innovative Solutions for Progressive Organizations

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300 Oxford Drive, Suite 110, Monroeville, PA 15146

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