Why You Think You Suck At Self Care - And 6 Ways To Get Better At It


Have you ever told yourself that you suck at self care? Or have you told yourself that it’s something that just isn’t accessible to you? If so, I’m so glad you’re here because I get to be the one to tell you that that is bullshit.

Here’s the thing, you’re actually really good at self care. And I’ll tell you why in a minute. The problem isn’t with you or your aptitude or accessibility to self care, it’s the belief systems you have about it, and the habits you’ve created around that's causing you to believe that you're bad at it.

A lot of folks have a pretty narrow view of what self care is, how it’s achieved, or who deserves it. I was actually one of those people. But, the truth is, self care is anything ANYONE can do to support the wellbeing of their mind, body and soul.

And that is a LOT of things.

So, while having a broad range of holistic wellness practices at our fingertips at all times is totally awesome, trying to figure out which ones are going to best serve you can feel pretty daunting.

I mean, where do you even start?

Well, my friend, today I’m going to give you a starting point. I’m also going prove to you that you’re already pretty great at practicing self care, and I’m gonna let you in on some secrets WHY self care feels so flippin’ hard. And by sharing this information, I’m hoping that you’re going to come out of here feeling empowered and inspired to start confidently taking care of yourself in new and creative ways.


My name is Crystal McLain, this is Creative Self Care, and together we’re exploring new ways towards wellness, so we can effectively care for the mind, body and mother-lovin’ soul, and live healthy, empowered lives-individually and collectively.

If you appreciate what I’m doing here at CMC, want to support my work, and gain a more personal experience, consider joining my friends at Patreon for as little as $3 a month. To learn more about our community and how we’re making a positive impact, you can visit crystalmclaincreative.com

Alright, let’s get to it.


So, if you ever have told yourself that you suck at self care, or, that it’s not accessible to you, I have to tell you that your theories are bullshit because YOU ARE PRACTICING SELF CARE ALL THE TIME.

In fact, you’re doing it right now.

Yup. Remember how I just said that self care is ANYTHING that ANYONE can do to support the wellbeing of their mind, body and soul? Well, THIS is one of those things.

Making the CHOICE to learn about yourself and your needs so you can become better at self care, is self care.

And here you are. Congratulations.

And you know what? Your day is FILLED with moments like this.

From the time you wake up, until the moment you go to bed, you are actively making CHOICES to make your life FEEL better. And that’s the point of self care, right? To feel better?

But here’s the thing, a lot of times, we just end up reaching for things that are a quick fix and give us instant gratification, or we make choices based on fear or someone else’s expectations, instead of aligning our actions with our true needs.

What do I mean by that?



Well, it’s like popping Advil for a chronic headache. While the Advil may help relieve your symptoms, it’s not addressing the root cause. If you really want to get rid of your headache, then you have to figure out where it’s coming from.

The headache is just a message that something is wrong. And our bodies are giving us messages all-day-long. And it’s our responsibility to figure out what those messages mean. Popping an Advil makes you feel better in the moment, but it’s just silencing the message.

And we find all sorts of ways to silence the messages we receive from our bodies. We reach for food, drugs, alcohol, credit cards, our phones, perfectionism, people pleasing, and all sorts of things that numb, suppress, or distract us from these important messages.


My hope for you, is that you will learn how to practice Creative Self Care so you can feel safe enough to listen to your body and confidently decode its messages, so you can start supporting your mind, body and soul in truly nourishing ways.

And how you practice Creative Self Care is by learning how your brain and body actually work, and discerning what really matters to you. When you do this, you’re going to be better equipped at translating your symptoms into meaningful input.

So let’s learn a little bit about your brain today.


The brain’s main objective is to keep us safe. And one of the ways human primates feel safe is when they can increase the hormones dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin.

I’m not going to get into the details of these hormones, but, if you want, you can learn more about them and how to increase them in healthy ways by downloading my free digital guide at my website. And, of course, if you’re a Patreon Member, this will be included in today’s bonus content package.


Anyway, because humans are clever creatures, we’ve found all sorts of ways to increase these hormones. The trouble is, a lot of us have found unhelpful ways to get them. You know what I’m talking about- alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, binging food, tv, or social media. These behaviors flood our blood stream with yummy, delicious feel-good hormones, But here’s the thing, while these activities make us feel good in the moment, they don’t actually address our core needs.

Now, I’m not here to say that any of these activities are BAD. But, we do get into trouble if we’re using them to consistently suppress the messages we need to receive.

It’s like that Advil for the chronic headache.

The headache could be stemming from poor body mechanics, work stress, dehydration, you name it. Advil isn’t going to change the cause of the headache. So the headache is going to come back. So, when we experience an unwanted thought, feeling or circumstance, the brain is going to give us signals that something is wrong. And we’re not going to find solutions by getting drunk or scrolling our time away. 

When we misalign our actions with our needs, we risk creating bigger problems for ourselves. And I definitely don't want that for you. 

Alright. So, that was a little bit about the brain. Now I want to talk about one of the biggest obstacles we face in life. And that is our culture.


Our society (at least here in the US) is built on generational trauma, greed and a lot of other toxic bullshit. And we subconsciously get swept away in it. The messages we primarily receive from this culture don’t align with our truest needs and desires. And that’s going to create conflict in our brains, challenging the essence of who we are, and what we need or deserve.

Self care honestly wouldn’t feel so hard or confusing if we lived in a world, where our BASIC needs were being met.

If we didn’t have to worry about things like being able to afford rent, groceries, or a trip to the doctor, or worry about being criticized at work, or assaulted in a parking lot, or feel the pressure to look a certain way, meet particular milestones, or worry that our leaders are killing our planet and the people who inhabit it, or feel compelled be perfect and excellent in all ways, then self care would probably be a fucking cake-walk.

But that’s not the world we live in.

There’s a lot of noise that’s creeping into our heads keeping us obedient to false ideas about self care, or, more specifically, self worth or competency. And because our poor brains are designed to seek immediate safety, satisfaction or belonging, we end up REACTING to these messages on a primal, fear-based level, instead of consciously RESPONDING in more mindful, beneficial ways. 

If we’re hungry, we should eat. If we’re tired, we should rest. If someone makes us feel uncomfortable, we should say something. But instead, we’re concerned that the food is going to make us fat, if we sit down we’ll be considered lazy, and if we speak up we might offend someone.


And this is why I’m so fucking passionate about CREATIVE SELF CARE.

You deserve to understand how your brain and body work, and what they need to thrive. You deserve to have a set of skills that allows you to see through the bullshit, and clearly define your needs. You deserve to spend your time in ways that feel nourishing, empowering, restorative, joyful, or whatever ways you need. You deserve to live your life without feeling bad about your choices. And you deserve to feel strong enough to make choices that make you feel good.

So, let’s talk about some of your needs, so you can have a solid starting point for making choices that align with them.


Okay, so honestly, we don’t have enough time to get into all of your needs. But if you want to dive deep and learn as much as you can about Creative Self Care in a practical, digestible way, you can sign up for my newsletter and I will let you know as soon as my Creative Self Care Mastery course is complete. And while you patiently wait for that course, you can start getting creative with the free Mindset Makeover Kit that instantly downloads when you sign up for the newsletter.

Anyway, spoiler alert: our needs are actually pretty simple. But despite their simplicity, it’s the humans that are rather complex. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that I refer to the mind, body and soul, a lot. And that’s because these three things affect one another and our levels of wellbeing.

Essentially, you are a complex organism made of science and magic, roaming this planet with free will and systematic constraints and sociological influences. You have biological requirements and an ego. You have a personality, and relationships, and a set of values. And because there’s no one else like you, you require a unique combination of variables in order for your mind, body and soul to thrive. We all do.

But one thing we have in common is, we all have a brain.

Now, granted, everyone’s brain is going to operate differently. But, essentially, everybody’s brain needs the same six things to function well.

And here’s another thing, your brain operates your body and your perception of your soul. So if you take care of the brain, you’re going to be inadvertently taking care of the body and soul as well. It’s getting more bang out of your self care buck.

So, since I’ve got an online course to finish, and you’ve got a life to live, let’s quickly learn about your brain and those six things you can do to keep it healthy.

Your brain (or, actually, your entire nervous system) is quite literally in charge of all the things. I’m talking about thoughts and decision making, memories and emotions, movement, balance and coordination, automatic behavior like breathing, heart rate, sleep and body temperature, regulation of organ function, speech and language functions, your fight or flight response, and processing sensory information.

This is a LOT for your brain to manage all day, every day. In fact, just running the basics, the brain uses about 20% of your entire body's energy.

So, because your brain is acting like a constant surveillance camera, processing all the information it receives, plus, it’s trying to intricately orchestrate your internal systems so you can maintain homeostasis, and manage your relationships, and your job, and your household, and obsess about that stupid thing you did more than a year ago, it’s in your best interest to support your brain in as many ways as you can.

And this is how you’re gonna do it.


1.  Exercise

If you want to do something intense like High Intensity Interval Training, that’s your prerogative. But really, just simply MOVING your body is going to be good for your brain. You can go for a walk, you can dance, you could pace around the house, you can do yoga. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you enjoy yourself. If you’re not enjoying HOW you’re moving your body, you’re not going to want to do it. And we’re trying to appease the brain. So move however you want.

And the reason WHY exercise is good for the brain is because it releases some of the happy hormones we mentioned earlier, primarily dopamine and endorphins. It also helps your brain to get rid of chemicals that make you feel stressed and anxious. And when we exercise we engage our motor skills, forcing our brains to process sensory information, which increases the levels of electrical activity in your brain, which  improves things like movement, memory, and problem solving.

So go move your damn body.

2. Deep Breathing

Again, you get to do this however the fuck you want. You don’t have to sit in some sort of yogi pose, or follow complicated instructions like alternating nostril breathing- yeah, that’s a thing. You can just take long, slow, deep breaths anytime, anywhere.

And the reason why deep breathing is good for your brain is because it directly affects something called the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the autonomic nervous system, starting at the brain stem and going all the way down to your abdomen. It controls things like digestion, heart rate, respiratory rate, mood, and immune functions. That means it's the nerve that activates the fight or flight response. And what's cool about deep breathing is that since it IS directly linked to the vagus nerve, we can kind of override our stress response and help switch ourselves over to the parasympathetic response which is when your body is able to rest, digest and repair itself. Deep breathing literally helps calm the nervous system and heal the body. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, it can also support cognitive function, and your ability to learn skills. So cool.

3.  Sleep

If you’re someone who suffers from insomnia, I’m so sorry. We’ll have to create some content specifically just for you. But, since you’re, you could definitely try all of these other brain tricks and see if that helps. But for now, I just want to highlight the importance of sleep.

So, you should try to get at least 7 hours. And the reason why we need to get plenty of sleep is because it’s vital to the brain’s plasticity, which is the brains’ ability to adapt to input, meaning it can learn new thoughts and skills. Sleep is also necessary for proper cognitive and behavioral function, improving memory, regulating metabolism, and reducing mental fatigue. Sleep is also the time when the brain is able to flush out toxins and help ward off things like depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines.

4.  Sunlight

Now, there’s no hard science to say exactly how much sun a person needs, because it varies from person to person, but everything I’ve read gives an average of about 10-20 minutes a day. And one of the reasons sunlight is good for the brain is because it increases the release of serotonin, which is a mood boosting hormone that helps you feel calm and focused. So, go catch some rays.

5.  Mindfulness & Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are really just ways of paying attention with intention. It’s wrangling your focus on one specific thing. And you could be mindful with just about anything. But since we’re here to be creative with our self care, and get more bang for your buck, I’d suggest being mindful your breath, movement, or cooking (which we’ll get to in a minute). But, really does’t matter. The idea is to recognize when you’ve been distracted, and then refocus without judgement, that’s it.

And the reason why mindfulness and meditation are great is because they increase our resiliency to stress, increase our attention span, improve our sleep, and boost creativity. You know I love that one.

6.  Proper Nutrition

Here we are with our cooking. So, the brain requires specific nutrients and proper hydration to function well. It’s like putting gas in your car instead of Pepsi. It’s just going to run better.

Specifically the brain needs omega 3 fatty acids, flavonoids, B vitamins, Vitamins D, C and E, carotene, choline, Calcium, zinc, selenium, copper and iron. Essentially, you just wanna try to eat a variety whole, unprocessed foods from the major food groups, when you can. Sometimes that package of ramen is the only thing that’s accessible to you. That’s okay. You go ahead and eat it, and maybe try to score something a little more nutrient dense some other time. But do try to drink enough water. The golden rule for hydration is half your body weight, but in ounces. So, if you’re a human who weighs about 200 pounds, try to get about 100 ounces of water. That sounds like a lot, but you’ve got all day to sip at it. And, if you’re eating raw fruits and veggies, or soup, or drinking herbal tea, you’re getting water with those things. So don’t stress too much. In fact, don’t stress at all. Just do what you can.


Alright, my friend, one of the creativity pieces in Creative Self Care, is connecting the dots between your actions, your needs, your interests, and your lifestyle. You just learned about the benefits of six wellness activities that directly affect your brain. Now it’s up to you to figure out how you can incorporate these activities into your life, in ways that feel purposeful, accessible, and, dare I say it, enjoyable.

Remember, you are actually really GOOD at practicing self care, it’s just that some of your actions may not be aligned with your needs. This is an opportunity to do a little tweaking, so you can creatively care for the organ that takes care of your whole self.

I love you and your big, beautiful brain, and I’m so excited about your Creative Self Care journey! Please be patient with these practices. It’s going to take your brain a little while to get on board with anything new. But you are worth the time and effort.

If you’re interested in that course I was talking about earlier you can sign up for the newsletter and score that Mindset Makeover Kit. And if you’re curious about those Patreon perks, you can learn more about memberships at my website. Otherwise, know I love you, I appreciate you, and I’m so glad that you’re here.

I’ll see you soon.


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