Lets look into the key differences in Self-Care vs Self-Help. You may have heard the terms thrown around in the same sentence. And although there is some overlap between the two, it’s important to understand what makes them different and why it matters.
Self-care is all about taking care of yourself holistically—thinking about both your physical, emotional, and mental needs. It’s about taking a step back from your day-to-day life and devoting time to yourself for relaxation, reflection, and betterment. On the other hand, self-help focuses on specific goals that you may want to achieve or problems you want to overcome.
Please keep in mind this is generally speaking, more women gravitate towards self-care then men, while more men are attracted to self-help then women. But why? In this post, we’ll examine the differences between these two practices as well as explore why there are gender discrepancies in how they are approached.
Self-Care vs Self-Help? What’s the Difference?
Self-care and self-help take different approaches to improving one’s life. Self-care is all about taking care of oneself, while self-help involves guidance or assistance from external resources.
At its core, self-care is an umbrella term that focuses on maintaining and improving one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It can include activities such as exercise, yoga or meditation, and even self-reflection or journaling.
In contrast, self-help involves seeking help from external sources to reach specific goals or overcome challenges. Resources such as books, seminars, studies or therapy are typically used in this process.
Interestingly enough, research has found that men are more likely to seek out self-help than women—while women are more likely to focus on self-care instead. That doesn’t necessarily mean one approach is better than the other—it simply means men and women may have different preferences when it comes to how they go about improving their lives.
Why Men in Particular Are Drawn to Self-Help
Have you ever noticed how men tend to gravitate towards self-help, while women often seek out self-care instead? There’s a reason for it: men and women have different energy polarities. While women are magnetically drawn to inner change and healing, which self-care offers, men are more energetically inclined towards Self-help. It taps into the provider side of men—where they outwardly seek to create and put their energy into action.
For men, seeking self-help may feel like taking control of a situation. Men may feel societal pressure to be self-reliant and independent; as such, it may be difficult for them to ask for help in other ways. Self-help can appeal to their desire for clear steps and structured instructions that can lead them to achieve their goals. That being said, this isn’t always the case! Everyone should find what works best for them when it comes to finding support and care, whichever end of the gender spectrum they exist on.
Why Women Prefer Self-Care Activities
When it comes to self-care versus self-help activities, women tend to go for the former rather than the latter. This can be partly attributed to how energetically women are more magnetic, and self-care involves the inwards attraction of energy. It taps into the nurturing side of women to provide space for themselves, friends and family.
But there is more to it than that. Women may be more in tune with their emotions and prioritize their well-being over productivity. They generally feel more societal pressure to raise children and families, making themselves put their families’ needs before their own. As a result, they are naturally drawn towards activities like yoga, meditation or reading which provide not just a break from routine but fuel for the soul as well.
Women also attest that self-care activities help them manage stress better and get through difficult situations without being bogged down by emotions. As my partner once said to me “Sometimes we need chocolate, sometimes an extra hour of sleep or even just a good cry.” Self-care is where they find these things.
What Benefits Are There From Both Approaches?
So what benefits are there to engaging in both self-care and self-help? Well, these two approaches to self-improvement are essential components of a healthy lifestyle. Not only can they help prevent burnout and reduce stress, but they can also provide tools and resources for personal growth.
When it comes to self-care, the focus is on taking care of your body and mind through physical activities, such as yoga or going for a walk; mental activities, such as meditating or journaling; and emotional activities, such as expressing gratitude or spending time with friends. All of these practices have the potential to improve one’s mental and emotional well-being and enhance overall quality of life.
Self-help, on the other hand, is about taking action to better yourself. It involves setting goals for yourself, learning new skills or changing behaviors in order to make progress towards those goals. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself in order to grow into a better version of yourself.
By engaging in both approaches—self-care and self-help—individuals can develop a more holistic approach to self-improvement that encourages growth while also allowing them to take the time they need for rest and relaxation.
We need both self-help and self-care for Balance
Too much of either self-help or self-care can be a bad thing. Relying solely on self-help can lead to a focus on external validation, neglecting one’s own needs, and not taking responsibility for oneself. On the other hand, focusing solely on self-care can lead to complacency and a lack of personal growth and development.
So, you may be wondering how self-care and self-help fit together in the same routine. Can they? The answer is yes! Combining both of them can lead to a more sustainable and effective approach to self-improvement.
Incorporating Self-Care Into Self-Help
Incorporating self-care activities into a self-help routine can provide a grounding and calming element that is often missing in traditional self-help approaches. Taking time out for yourself to do something that brings you joy can help create balance and clarity. Adding these activities into your life on a regular basis will allow you to practice the skills you’re learning in your self-help journey while also receiving the emotional support, relaxation, and comfort of self-care.
Self-Help Can Provide Resources for Healthy Self Care Habits
Self-help can provide resources and guidance for developing healthy self-care habits, such as stress management techniques, relaxation techniques, nutrition advice, setting boundaries with others, and learning to express your feelings in a healthy way. All of these are important components of any comprehensive approach to improving mental health, which includes both self care and self help.
Both Are Needed for Sustainable Change
Integrating both self-care and self-help is essential for lasting change. Rather than focusing on one or the other in isolation, it’s important to recognize that they go hand in hand – while one provides emotional support, the other provides practical resources. Neither alone can provide the tools necessary for sustainable changes in our lives but together they create an excellent foundation for creating positive change that lasts over time.
Supporting Mental Health Through Self-Care and Self-Help
When it comes to mental health, both self-care and self-help can be helpful. Self-care activities such as exercise or mindfulness can help regulate mood and improve overall mental well-being. Meanwhile, self-help resources such as therapy or support groups can provide a space for individuals to work through mental health challenges.
At the end of the day, self-care and self-help are two sides of the same coin—they work together to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and improve coping skills. While men may be drawn towards self-help activities like setting goals or creating side hustles, women are more likely to opt for self-care practices like journaling or turning their house into a home. No matter which path you choose, these important resources can play an important role in improving your mental well-being.
It’s important to understand the differences between self-care and self-help, and why the distinction matters. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of “self-care” as an absolute solution, but it can only help us so much. Self-care is essential in creating an intentional lifestyle, but it shouldn’t be confused with self-help which can provide more tangible, instant gratification.
Men, who often have a harder time expressing their feelings and more difficulty seeking out support, may be more attracted to the structure, discipline, and tangible results of self-help. Women, who tend to be more open and comfortable with their emotions and seeking help, maybe more naturally drawn to the more holistic, open approach of self-care.
No matter which is more attractive to you, it’s important to remember the importance of finding balance and realizing that both self-care and self-help are just two parts of the same system for creating balance and long-term success.
Aidan is a certified personal trainer and former Managing Director of Progressive Supplements, a company specializing in plant-based and natural gym supplements. With a wealth of experience in health and wellness spanning two decades, he's dedicated to sharing valuable health and fitness insights to support your well-being.
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