I wrote recently about the importance of self-love and self-care. By chance I had a conversation with someone who had read my blog, but who I think had slightly misunderstood it. So, I would like to say a few words about self-soothing as opposed to self-love.

So what is the difference? Well for me, self-care is a deliberate, proactive, behaviour to look after yourself – eating healthily, taking some exercise, getting enough sleep or finding time to relax and perhaps meditation. It’s all about looking after yourself and doing things for you. Self-love is about being kind and tolerant with yourself and not be concerned with what others think.

Self-soothing on the other hand is doing something in the short term that might make you forget a problem, but does not really help to solve it. For example, have a bar of chocolate or a glass / bottle of wine after a bad day at work. You might feel you deserve it, but it won’t really help. Self-soothing can become self-sabotaging and unhealthy both physically and mentally. In extreme cases it can lead to comfort eating, drug use and alcohol abuse.

Not all self-soothing is bad though. The trick is to make the self-soothing activity also health for you. If you have had a stressful day at work rather than a bottle of wine, perhaps go for a run. What is your go-to food when you are stressed or unhappy? Ice cream? Burger and chips? Anything with lots of carbs and fat or sugar? Perhaps try chicken soup instead.

Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa (Japanese celebrity chef and restaurateur) once said, “I eat soup noodles for comfort. In fact, noodles of any kind. It’s a food that is very easy to eat; it’s very soothing and comfortable, too”.

Remember, self-love and self-care are all important parts of being healthy both physically and mentally. Self-soothing can be dangerous and can lead to other problems. If you need help or advice then contact me.

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