It’s all well and good to take a rose petal filled bath with candles and a face mask lulling you to sleep. But now it’s the next day. And the twenty thousand self-deprecating thoughts you had before getting into the bath come hurling back into your brain. Self-care is good (it certainly feels nice in the moment). But self-care without self-awareness is short-lived. And these are five reasons why.

You’re not solving the problem, you’re burying it.

Burying your problems and sleeping to avoid them sometimes is tempting (I would know I’m an avid stress sleeper). But it does nothing to help get over that roadblock. If anything it stresses you out more that the problem is still there. That’s not to say coming back to the problem after you’ve rested is bad per se. But you need to learn when to address the uncomfortable, whilst it’s uncomfortable. You won’t always have time to rest, and when that happens, you’ll wanna pull your hair out. But a conversation needs to be had with yourself. Whether it’s about your habits, feelings or behaviours. Write a list of all the things you’ve felt recently. Try to find out why. And then figure out how to fix that. The process will definitely take a while, especially if you repress your feelings. But it’s a good start.

If you didn’t cry in the mirror, you’re not doing it right.

I hate talking to myself in the mirror. I don’t know how other people do it. But I know why they do it. It’s because it works. It’s highly uncomfortable at first, but it works. And you have to believe what you’re saying. Self-deprecation loves rearing its head when you feel good about yourself. So you have to let it exist in that space and float away. Seriously. When an intrusive thought shows up out of the blue, your best bet is to simply recognise it as a thought and then release it. You can cry, scream, yell or laugh while doing this. As long as you actually release it. This takes work. It takes doing it when you really, really don’t wanna do it. But if you want a relaxing bath, you need the salts.

It’s okay to be vulnerable, just talk to your cat.

Crying is therapeutic. It’s literally science. Medical News Today says that “in addition to being self-soothing, shedding emotional tears releases oxytocin and endorphins. These chemicals make people feel good and may also ease both physical and emotional pain. In this way, crying can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being.” Talking is also therapeutic. Even if you’re the type of person that just likes listening to other people’s problems. You wanna be heard. You wanna talk and someone (or something) to listen to you without objection. But sometimes you don’t wanna get vulnerable. That’s understandable, but it also doesn’t help. Now getting vulnerable doesn’t mean trauma dumping all over yourself or someone else. It simply means saying how you feel. Once again, this is easier said than done. But it can be done. Like everything else, it takes time. Whether you’ve come home from a hard day at work or school.  Or you’ve spent the day doing absolutely nothing in your bed. You felt something today. Most people write their feelings down in journals. But if you’re unbelievably forgetful (like me), talking it out with someone you trust is just as effective. Even more so when you need physical comfort to go with that silence.

Keeping yourself accountable.

Accountability is basically saying “I didn’t do what I needed to do today.”  Apologising to yourself  (which isn’t as weird as you think it might be), and then trying again tomorrow. Sometimes things don’t work out. And you don’t have to beat yourself up over it. But you do have to recognise your own actions in the equation. Sometimes you can be the enemy of your own progress. That’s why keeping accountability is important in learning to love yourself. It’s the same way you keep your loved ones accountable for their own actions. Because you love them. Accountability should always come from a place of love, if not the cycle of self-depreciation starts all over again.

Self-care, self-awareness, and everything in-between.

You are your greatest strength and sometimes your biggest enemy. Being able to discern between both feelings is where your self-love journey really starts. Yes, face masks and candlelit baths are helpful when you’re stressed or pent up. There’s no denying that. But you can take a soothing bath if your mind is running a mile a minute. And this whole process takes time. Learning and unlearning your emotions. Talking to yourself. Spending time with yourself. It can get uncomfortable sometimes. But your peace is worth double that feeling.