I see self care and treat yourself used synonymously all of the time, but when you really get into, they are definitely not the same thing. Let me explain.
Treat yourself is exactly what is says, doing something special and out of the ordinary for yourself. Whether this is a nice meal, eating dessert, buying something you’ve been eyeing for a while, or taking a vacation, it’s doing something you do not normally get to do as a reward.
Self care is more complicated. Self care is taking care of yourself, particularly used when life is difficult and often associated with mental health. And although you could treat yourself as self care, it probably won’t be the most effective solution.
Sometimes, self care is just getting out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it’s sleeping a day away. Sometimes it’s doing laundry or cooking a meal. Sometimes it’s just taking a shower. It’s definitely not always the glamorous relaxation of bubble baths and wine everyone seems to think it is. When life is messy and hard, self care isn’t easy and needs to be simple.
I have had days where getting out of bed and eating something was a miracle, and in those moments that’s self care. Self care sometimes is meant to keep you living, more than it is to make you feel amazing.
Sure, self care can still be the curling up with a book and a glass of wine after a long day, but we can’t keep romanticizing it and making it equal to treat yourself. Treat yourself and self care are different, and that should be clear.