When you decide to invest time in “self-care”, what does that really look like? For a lot of us, self-care means a day at the spa, a bubble bath in the evening, or a yoga class on the weekend. And while all of those things are great, believing that those are the most effective ways to really care for yourself can actually do more harm than good. Why? Because those “self-care” to-dos are really nothing more than temporary fixes, band-aids that you put on so that you feel better, only to need more and more as life continues.

In reality, we should be focusing on self-care in terms of long-term health and well-being. That means developing habits that actually improve the overall quality of your life, not just giving yourself little pick-me-ups to look forward to in between everything else. Yes, this is more difficult. And, yes, this takes more time and work. But, when you invest the time and energy to really tend to yourself, you find that not only do you feel better, but your overall life is improved — and in every area.

If self-care has turned into a momentary escape, then consider these three tips below to start redesigning your life so that your cared for regularly, not just every now and then.

  • Reevaluate “your” people. A lot of us spend time with the same people day after day, and we do this for years. And while some of these people are in our lives whether we like it or not, we do have the power to choose how we interact with them. Every person in your life influences how you feel, how you think, and ultimately who you are. That’s why it’s so important to choose friends wisely. And when you recognize that a friendship or relationship is no longer serving your highest self, then realize that you have the power to let it go. That could mean cutting ties for good or simply changing the frequency you see them.
  • Let things go. We all get caught up in arguments from time to time, which in turn negatively impacts the rest of our lives whether we recognize it or not. The more we can start realizing that some people are simply committed to disagreeing or misunderstanding you, the more we can free ourselves from their power. Certain arguments, certain occurrences simply don’t do us any good if we continue to dwell. Choosing to let that energy go is one of the most powerful forms of self-care you can engage in.
  • Take responsibility. The more you start to identify as a victim, the less control you have over your life. That’s why one of the best things you can do in terms of real self-care is taking responsibility for everything in your life, especially when you’re tempted to point the finger and lay blame. This takes a lot of work, a lot of patience, and a lot of self-control, but once you start owning your power, your entire life shifts — and you’ll realize that you’ve never felt better.