happy woman at yoga

Self-Care: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much?


Sober Recovery Expert Author

happy woman at yoga

Whether you’re a recovering addict, a baker or a candlestick maker, maintaining your own well-being and personal health is an extremely important part of life. Besides making sure all of your basic needs are met, self-care involves engaging in activities that not only make you happy but improves or restores your health.

Exercise, yoga, having fun. These are all activities that promote self-care and are extremely beneficial to your self-esteem and development. Taking a few minutes to relax and enjoy yourself is highly encouraged--but can a good thing go too far? Here are ways that self-care can tip over into the category of overindulgence rather than improvement.

Learn how to self-care without becoming addicted to the process.

"Good" Obsessions Gone Bad

Overindulgence can occur with any item or activity, good or bad. In fact, many addictions start out in the form of self-care until it takes over our lives. You may start drinking after work to unwind or take painkillers to ease a medical condition, only for it to later become a dependency.

In the same way, self-care activities can also turn into addictions whether or not they include drugs or alcohol. You can become so obsessed with an activity that you exclude yourself from other events just to indulge in it.

Some inherently good activities that can be skewed in the process are:

  • Working out. The constant desire to exercise can lead to overexhaustion and body image issues.
  • Healthy eating. A simple change like adding a fair share of vegetables and lean meat to your regimen can quickly lead to frantic calorie-counting and an unhealthy desire to never gain weight.
  • Playing games. Engaging in a computer or virtual game is dangerous when it is constantly consuming your time and social life.

Everything in Moderation

Obviously exercising to the point of exhaustion or eating too many donuts is incomparable to shooting up heroin or smoking crack in an alley, but health--in every case--should be a priority. If you’re giving yourself a little retail therapy while bankruptcy has been a tabled discussion for two months, you may need to find a different way to soothe your emotions.

The rule of thumb is simple: treat yourself kindly but don’t overdo it. If you’re losing sight of what’s important or forgetting about your responsibilities, you may be climbing on top of a pink cloud and the truth is—everyone falls.

If you’re looking for ways to raise your self-esteem or feel better, there are other ways of doing it without directly focusing on yourself. Helping other people can be a way of diverting the attention and spreading the love.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Donate clothing or money
  • Buy a homeless person a meal
  • Offer to help a friend out, such as moving or babysitting
  • Assist elderly neighbors with lawn care

As nice and necessary as it is to treat yourself out or take a little personal time, it’s good to remember that helping others can be just as rewarding.

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