Self-help vs. self-care — what’s the difference?
today at 1:07 pm
When I went to an actual, open bookstore last week, I spotted an appealing book, “The *More or Less* Definitive Guide to Self-Care” by Anna Borges (2019).
Well, the first thing I wanted defined was that term, self-care. I got a good bargain on the book and brought it home, only to discover that anyone I mentioned it to was concerned: “Margaret, what do you need a self-help book for?”
Well, that’s a separate story if not exactly a different one. I chose to pick up on the different words involved. (Surprise!)
A self-help book is something like “Thin Thighs in 30 Days.” (Personally, I’d shelve that under fiction, but it’s sold as self-help.) Self-help is “You need to fix this, and here’s how.”
Self-care, on the other hand, is “I want to feel better, and here is what I want to do.”
In the accompanying illustration, self-help would be “How to Keep Your Umbrella from Breaking in the Storm.” Self-care would be “Here are dry clothes; would tea or soup feel better?” One would be an official article or book, the other a gentle, caring advisor.
The book is set up alphabetically, from Affirmations to Zzzzz (because Borges evidently wanted to calm those of us who love to see the whole alphabet used, and there were enough Ss to put sleep under its cartoon spelling, Zzzzz). Some things, like Astrology and Tarot, I don’t think I’ll ever read — but Curiosity, Nature and Unplug are already familiar.
It won’t be a surprise to my regular readers that one way I take care of myself (the non-buzz-word way to say “engaging in self-care”) is reading. But now, when I want other ways to care for myself, I have a sort of index. I can look up new things to do, even when they involve (shudder) putting down my books and getting moving.
So yes, without many advisors in person — or even on the screen — I needed some self-care advice.
Self-help can wait until reopening.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.