Are your preconceived notions about self-care limiting your ability to practice it? Shine the light of awareness on these blocks to self-care to unleash your capacity for greater action and great self-care.

When you think of self-care, you may picture wealthy people getting massages on the beach, but self-care goes beyond luxury. It’s an essential practice for anyone desiring to live a long and healthy life. It’s a way of managing the accumulation of stress in your body.

Self-care might seem self-explanatory, but there are so many ways to take time out of your day to nurture your body, mind, and heart.

The better self-care practice you have, the better you can respond to the stresses of life with ease and flow. While you may know this intellectually, knowing and acting are two different things. Sometimes, life throws a barrier between you and your self-care practice.

If you desire to incorporate more self-care into your life, then take a look at these six blocks that could be derailing your routine. Self-care can be luxurious or simple. The only thing standing in your way are your thoughts. Learn these blocks so you can be on your way to better self-care.

1. It Takes too Much Time

You may think that it takes time – time you don’t have – to provide that extra level of care for yourself. And you’re right, it does take time. But how much time is up to you.

First examine and question the thought, “There’s not enough time.” If this thought is crowding out time for yourself, then it’s also crowding out time for other things in your life. There’s enough time for all that you desire. Affirm this.

2. You Don’t Know What to Do

Okay, so you might not know what to do. You spend most of your days caring for other people. You hardly have time to contemplate what you want for yourself. Then that’s the first step in your self-care practice. Give yourself five minutes one morning or evening to contemplate what would feel good for you.

Here are some ideas: a bubble bath with essential oils, a walk in nature alone, a ten-minute sunrise meditation, enjoying a piece of dark chocolate from that fancy chocolate shop, or a 20-minute foot massage. You know what you need. You just need to give yourself time to think about it.

3. It Costs Too Much Money

Do you fall into the camp of people who associate self-care with luxury? Then maybe you think self-care has to be expensive. Yes, it can be. And if you live an abundant life, then you will have no issue spending money on yourself. No matter how much money you have there are always inexpensive (even free) ways to lather yourself in love.

Take a look at the thought, “Self-care is expensive.” What’s so expensive about a bubble bath or meditating? Unpack that belief. Disentangle yourself and release it. It’s not needed. You don’t need to let money get between you and time with yourself ever again.

4. Self-care is Selfish

Ooh, isn’t this one good. If you cling to the martyr archetype, then you’re probably thinking to yourself that self-care is selfish. You may think, “There’s too much bad stuff going on in the world for me to sink into bliss.” Or, “How can I focus on myself when I’ve got kids and a partner that need me.”

These thoughts point to an unhealthy relationship between yourself and those around you.

Self-care can now become your practice of regaining your sovereignty and independence. You may have children, a partner, or even aging parents or family members that depend on you. But what good are you to them if you aren’t healthy and well?

Self-care is your healing. Use it to your advantage.

5. You’re Lacking the Energy

It’s ironic, isn’t it? The one signal that you need self-care the most is the one you use as a reason for not giving it to yourself.

“I’m too tired to… take a bath, meditate, walk in nature, journal, or give myself love and attention.” Ridiculous, isn’t it?

TV isn’t self-care, so turn off the TV, get off the couch, and luxuriate in lavish loving of some kind. Naps are good too. Whatever turns you on. You’ll have far more energy than if you just sit and watch TV.

6. Self-care is for Women Only

Men, this one’s for you. Self-care, that is.

Nowhere ever did someone write out: Self-care – Women Only. Answer this: Do you have a self? Do you have a body, mind, and heart? The answer is yes. Yes you do. Therefore, you qualify for self-care.

You have a nervous system, just like women do, and it needs time to heal and rest. It can’t do that if you don’t give it to yourself.

Believing that self-care is for women alone only hurts you. You are equally deserving of your love and attention. Take a bath, get a pedicure, go for a massage. Whatever feels good and healthy.

Self-care is for everyone, no matter how busy or full your life is. The only thing standing between you and self-care are your beliefs about it. You have the time, it doesn’t have to cost anything, and men can do it, too. You’ll have more energy afterwards, and there’s so much to choose from! You are worth it.

By Paula Jones/Care2