Barriers to Self-Care (& How To Let Go of Them)

barriers to self-care

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Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by Saskia Friedrich

Are barriers stopping you from maintaining self-care? Barriers to self-care are more common than you think and you’re not the only one facing them. It’s time to change your mindset and let go of the barriers so you can finally take care of yourself.

What barriers to practicing self-care are you facing? Do you care for others all day and can’t make time for yourself? Or are you simply exhausted after a long day at work or from running errands?

Your kids are waiting to be picked up and then you need to rush home and get dinner on the table. You’re probably asking yourself, how on earth can I squeeze in some self-care into my busy schedule?!

Whatever the situation, there are many barriers out there that are in your way of being kind and gentle to yourself.

The good news is – you can learn to manage your self-care barriers! In this post, you’ll get to know about the most common barriers and how you can overcome them so you can finally practice some well-deserved self-care.

barriers to self-care

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Disclaimer: Some of the links here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

What Are The Barriers to Self-Care?

No motivation for self-care? Are you wondering what could be the possible barriers in achieving your personal goals?

Let’s look at each of the most common barriers to self-care in more detail. Some of them go hand in hand with each other or build on top of one another.

It’s important to recognize them first and once done, you can start to work on letting go of them and getting back to having motivation for your self care.

Self Care Barriers

  • 1. No Time
  • 2. Putting Others First
  • 3. Guilt
  • 4. No Motivation
  • 5. Thinking You Don’t Need Self-Care
  • 6. Lack of Ideas

Overcoming Self Care Barriers

  • 1. Make Time For Yourself
  • 2. Live More Intentionally
  • 3. Know That You Are Worthy
  • 4. Understand The Importance of Self-Care

1. No Time

This is probably the # 1 barrier to self-care! We’re so quick to say that we don’t have time yet we find time to do everything else in our lives.

Sure, most of the time we do things that are expected of us and which we feel we HAVE to do, but at the end of the day, we are still able to make time for them.

Barriers to Self-Care: How To Let Go

If you can find time for other things in your life, you need to also find time for self-care. Plan out your day using a daily planner, and see what really has to be done today. I’m sure you’ll realize that some things can be moved to the next day.

barriers to self care
Find time for self-care with this daily planner

A lot of the times, we set our expectations too high and think we have to get it all done in one day. But things don’t run away and can wait. Self-care shouldn’t. You have to make it a priority.

If committing to self-care is hard for you, try out these 5-minute self-care activities first and see how you go. There are always 5 minutes to spare here or there and you’ll be surprised how much better you feel after just a few minutes of giving yourself some love.

2. Putting Others First

This self-care barrier especially applies to people who care for someone like their children, or their elderly parents. As parents of young children, we are constantly on the run taking care, and it isn’t easy to put ourselves first.

However, there are also a lot of people out there who take your time and effort for granted. Friends and family keep on asking and expecting you to help and before you know it, you agreed to something that you didn’t have a second to think about.

Barriers to Self-Care: How To Let Go

I know you want to avoid conflict and please others, but you have to be careful with your resources. We all have a limit and can’t pour from an empty cup. Instead of exhausting yourself, you need to regularly plan some self-care activities.

Setting boundaries is very important here, and it gets easier once you set them in place and stick to them. If you respect them, others will too.

Before you say yes to other people’s requests straight away, let them know you will get back to them, and take a moment to think first and make sure this is something you really want to do.

Learn to say no more often!

barriers to self-care

3. Guilt

If you say yes to self-care, you say no to something else at the same time.

This could be dinner with a friend, helping your mum with planting a new tree in the backyard, or quality time with your family. We are afraid that we will miss out on something that could be much better than spending time with ourselves.

Guilt is a dark barrier that prevents us from taking care of ourselves and we think we’re not worthy of spending so much time (or money) on ourselves.

Barriers to Self-Care: How To Let Go

Show yourself the love that you constantly give your loved ones around you!

Self-care often is often seen as an expensive way of pampering yourself, but self-care doesn’t have to cost much and it doesn’t have to be fancy (check out these 5-minute self-care activities which most of them you can do at home).

Get some self care motivation!

barriers to maintaining self care
Self-Care Reflection Journal
barriers to maintaining self care
Gua Sha & Face Roller

4. No Motivation

I get it! You’re tired, exhausted, and just want to fall into bed at the end of your day.

You have so much to do and constantly chase to tick another task off your to-do list. How can you find energy for self-care and put your head into the mind space of doing something for yourself?

Barriers to Self-Care: How To Let Go

Sit back, take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture. What do you enjoy doing? Is it Yoga or cleaning out a drawer? What makes you feel good? What makes you happy?

Whatever it is and however small it seems, honor yourself 10 minutes and just do it. Once you’ve done it, you’ll feel so much better and you will get to find the motivation to do it again the next day.

Sometimes, you just have to throw yourself into something without thinking about it too much.

barriers to self-care
no motivation for self care
Stress Less & Self Care Cards

5. Thinking You Don’t Need Self-Care

Another barrier to self-care is the opinion of not needing self-care. This could be due to putting others first or being so occupied with other tasks that you don’t really think about self-care.

You think you are ok. And you might be ok at the moment, but you won’t be ok in the long run. One day you will break down, wondering how you got to this point.

Barriers to Self-Care: How To Let Go

You need to find a balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself. You can’t keep going all day every day without taking breaks. Don’t exhaust yourself by letting this barrier take the upper hand.

6. Lack of Ideas

Do you think that self-care has to be fancy and that none of this stuff fits into your budget and lifestyle? You can’t think of any activities that are right for you?

Barriers to Self-Care: How To Let Go

As previously mentioned, self-care is more than pampering yourself with a massage or spa once a month. Self-care should be a part of your daily life and routine.

You might be surprised what things fall under self-care when you look at the 8 areas of self-care. I hope these will give you some inspiration.

8 Areas of Self-Care

  • Physical Self-Care – doing a workout, going to the dentist, or having a nap
  • Emotional Self-Carejournaling, reading affirmations, or setting boundaries
  • Psychological Self-Care – learning a new skill, playing an instrument, or doing some writing/blogging
  • Social Self-Care – spending time with family & friends, offering and asking for help
  • Spiritual Self-Carepraying, practicing mindfulness, setting your values
  • Financial Self-Care – setting up a monthly budget plan, keeping your tax in order, or planning your future
  • Environmental Self-Care – keeping your place nice and clean, decluttering, or having your car serviced
  • Professional Self-Care – taking a course to upskill, being productive, or staying up to date wit the latest practices in your industry

Why Do People Struggle With Self-Care?

We tend to struggle with self-care because we surround ourselves with other people’s problems, needs, and feelings. Rather than focusing on others, we need to acknowledge our own feelings and needs, and take action on what’s important to us.

You need to understand that you are worthy of self-care, no matter what people have told you in the past. As much as you want to help others, you also need to look after yourself. If you don’t do it, no one else will.

barriers to self-care

What Happens When You Don’t Practice Self-Care?

Self-care should be an essential part of your day as it is a tool to stay healthy and work out your values and expectations in life.

If there are barriers in your life preventing you from practicing self-care, you will face challenges, such as feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or having physical symptoms like headaches and stomach pains.

Non-existent self-care also affects your mood and your overall well-being as well as the quality of your sleep.

How To Overcome Barriers to Self-Care

1. Make Time For Yourself

It will be hard at first, but if you have a good think about it and plan out your day, you will realize that you can make time for self-care. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, if you need someone to watch your children or a loved one you usually care for.

Especially as parents, we need a break from our families. We can’t keep functioning like a robot and constantly do things for everyone else but ourselves.

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.

Jean Shinoda Bolen

2. Live More Intentionally

Take a few mental breaks throughout the day and think about what you’re doing and why. Do you just do things because you’re used to them? Are they even worth it?

Maybe a few things can be swapped out with a 5-minute self-care activity.

Also, journaling is a great way to let go of stress, take a break from the rush, and see the bigger picture.

Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.

Kristi Ling
self care barriers
Enjoy the moment

3. Know That You Are Worthy

Everyone on this planet deserves self-care, including you! Why should you be the one who does everything for everyone without getting anything back?

You are worthy of self-care – full stop. Read this again.

It’s also important for you to understand that self-care is not self-indulgence, it’s self-preservation. Self-care has a lot to do with setting boundaries, taking breaks when you need them (not when you’re being told to have one), and mentally unplugging from work or other tasks that keep you busy.

You are beautiful and worthy of good things, and if you don’t believe that, nobody will.

Rachel Hollis

4. Understand The Importance of Self-Care

Exhausting yourself won’t get you anywhere. That’s the harsh truth.

Everyone’s mind and body have a limit and if your inner self thinks it’s too much, you will break down.

Practicing self-care regularly helps to prevent this. You need to stay happy and healthy to keep doing what you love. You want to look after your family and be strong for them.

If you don’t do self-care, you can become unwell and at the same time become a burden to those around you.

Self-care is giving the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you.

Katie Reed

FAQs to Barriers to Self-Care

Self-Care Challenges

Try out this 30-day challenge to get you into the habit and mood of self-care activities. Once you do a little bit of self-care every day, you get used to the routine and wouldn’t want to miss it anymore.

30-Day Challenge Ideas To Let Go of Barriers to Self-Care

  • 1. Meditate in the morning.
  • 2. Write down what you are grateful for today.
  • 3. Try out a new recipe.
  • 4. Set up a morning and an evening routine.
  • 5. Take a break from social media.
  • 6. Plan a day out with your friends.
  • 7. Declutter your wardrobe.
  • 8. Don’t eat any sugar for a day.
  • 9. Write down the things you would like to improve in your life.
  • 10. Go for a walk.
  • 11. Practice deep breathing.
  • 12. Focus on the positive things in your life.
  • 13. Let go of a toxic habit.
  • 14. Make your bed in the morning.
  • 15. Write down a few affirmations. Need inspiration?
  • 16. Make time to prepare yourself a healthy meal.
  • 17. Call your family to check on them.
  • 18. Reduce your to-do list.
  • 19. Make a puzzle.
  • 20. Drink 1.5 – 2 L of water.
  • 21. Go to bed 1 hour earlier.
  • 22. Block out half a day for yourself each week.
  • 23. Compliment yourself as well as others.
  • 24. Take the first step in learning a new skill or language.
  • 25. Set up a budget plan.
  • 26. Buy a book and read a few pages each day.
  • 27. Call your best friend.
  • 28. Go out on a date night.
  • 29. Clean your home.
  • 30. Go to the gym.

How Can You Take Care of Yourself Physically?

You can physically take care of yourself by doing the following activities:

  • Eating healthy foods
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Going for medical check-ups
  • Practicing good hygiene
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
barriers to self care

What Are Self Barriers in Communication?

Self or personal barriers prevent you from effective communication with others. These barriers can be based on a lack of vocabulary, lack of listening skills, or lack of knowledge.

5 Benefits of Self-Care

Practicing self-care regularly helps you reduce your stress levels, improve your concentration and focus, make you feel happier, minimize anxiety, and boost your energy.

Barriers to Self-Care: Before You Go . . .

Take baby steps every single day to let go of what’s stopping you from taking care of yourself. Accept any help you can and use every minute you have to do what is best for you, even if it’s just taking a nap.

Find a balance between what’s expected from you and what you truly want to do to take care of yourself. Understand what self-care is all about and think about what you can do today to let go of your barriers. Go slow and take one step at a time.

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About The Author of Self Care Barriers

Saskia is a mom, blogger, and freelance writer. She loves sharing tips on self-care, personal growth, and productivity & organization. Find out more about her or get in touch with her here.

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