Close this search box.
True Self Care Logo

What is Real Self-Care and Why You Need It

Real Self-Care

Self-care is a term that has become very popular in recent years, especially among women. You may have seen countless articles, products, and services that promise to help you practice self-care and improve your well-being. But what does self-care mean? And how can you practice it in a way that is meaningful and effective for you?

In this blog post, I will introduce you to the concept of real self-care, as explained by Pooja Lakshmin, MD, a women’s mental health specialist and the author of the bestselling book Real Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included). I will also share some of the benefits of real self-care, and some tips on how to implement it in your daily life.

What is Real Self-Care?

According to Dr. Lakshmin, real self-care is not about buying things or following a prescribed set of activities. It is not about comparing yourself with others or striving for a certain type of perfection. It is not about escaping from your problems or blaming yourself for them.

Real self-care, in contrast, is an internal, self-reflective process that involves making difficult decisions in line with your values, and when you practice it, you shift your relationships, your workplaces, and even your broken systems. The result—having ownership over your own life— is nothing less than a personal and social revolution.

Real self-care is based on four principles:

  • Self-compassion: treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially when you are suffering or struggling.
  • Self-awareness: being mindful of your thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires, and how they affect your behavior and well-being.
  • Self-advocacy: speaking up for yourself and setting healthy boundaries with others, without feeling guilty or ashamed.
  • Self-agency: taking action to create positive change in your life and in the world, based on your values and goals.

Why is Real Self-Care Important?

Real self-care is important because it helps you to:

  • Reduce stress and burnout: by acknowledging and addressing the sources of your stress, rather than ignoring or numbing them with superficial solutions.
  • Improve your mental and physical health: by taking care of your basic needs, such as sleep, nutrition, exercise, and social support, and seeking professional help when needed.
  • Enhance your self-esteem and confidence: by accepting and appreciating yourself as you are, rather than judging or criticizing yourself based on unrealistic standards or expectations.
  • Strengthen your relationships and communication: by expressing your feelings and opinions honestly and respectfully, and listening and empathizing with others.
  • Fulfill your potential and purpose: by pursuing your passions and interests, and contributing to causes and communities that matter to you.

How to Practice Real Self-Care?

Practicing real self-care is not easy, but it is possible and rewarding. Here are some steps you can take to start your real self-care journey:

  • Read Dr. Lakshmin’s bookReal Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included) is a practical and helpful guide that will teach you the principles and skills of real self-care, and provide you with exercises and examples to apply them to your own life. You can also check out her website and newsletter for more resources and inspiration.
  • Reflect on your values and goals: take some time to think about what matters to you, what makes you happy, and what you want to achieve in your life. Write them down and review them regularly.
  • Make a plan and take action: based on your values and goals, identify some specific and realistic steps you can take to improve your well-being and happiness. Schedule them in your calendar and track your progress and challenges.
  • Seek support and accountability: find someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or therapist, who can support you and hold you accountable for your real self-care plan. Share your successes and struggles with them, and ask for feedback and advice when needed.
  • Celebrate your wins and learn from your mistakes: recognize and reward yourself for every positive change you make, no matter how small or big. Also, be gentle and forgiving with yourself when you encounter setbacks or difficulties. Learn from them and move on.


Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about real self-care:

Q: What is the difference between real self-care and faux self-care?

A: Faux self-care is the type of self-care that is promoted by the wellness industry and the mainstream media. It is based on the idea that you can buy happiness and health by purchasing products or services, such as spa treatments, candles, crystals, or supplements. It is also based on the idea that you can achieve happiness and health by following a prescribed set of activities, such as yoga, meditation, journaling, or gratitude. Faux self-care is often superficial, unrealistic, and ineffective. It can also be harmful, as it can make you feel inadequate, guilty, or ashamed if you don’t follow the rules or achieve the results.

Real self-care, on the other hand, is the type of self-care that is advocated by Dr. Lakshmin and other experts. It is based on the idea that you can create happiness and health by engaging in an internal, self-reflective process that involves making difficult decisions in line with your values. It is also based on the idea that you can create happiness and health by taking action to change your life and the world, based on your goals. Real self-care is authentic, personalized, and effective. It can also be empowering, as it can help you feel worthy, confident, and powerful.

Q: How can I practice real self-care if I don’t have time, money, or energy?

A: Real self-care does not require a lot of time, money, or energy. It can help you save and gain more of these resources in the long run. Real self-care is not about adding more things to your already busy schedule or spending more money on things you don’t need. It is about prioritizing and simplifying your life and focusing on what truly matters to you. It is about saying no to things that drain you and saying yes to things that nourish you. It is about finding joy and meaning in the everyday moments and making the most of the opportunities you have.

Q: How can I practice real self-care without feeling selfish or guilty?

A: Real self-care is not selfish or guilty. It is the opposite. It is selfless and responsible. By practicing real self-care, you are not only taking care of yourself but also taking care of others. You are not only improving your well-being but also improving the well-being of those around you. You are not only fulfilling your own needs but also fulfilling your social and moral obligations. By practicing real self-care, you are showing respect and compassion for yourself and others. You are also setting a positive example and inspiring others to do the same.


I hope this blog post has given you some insight and motivation to practice real self-care. Remember, real self-care is not a one-time thing or a quick fix. It is a lifelong journey and a continuous process. It is not always easy or comfortable, but it is always worth it. It is the best gift you can give to yourself and the world.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you and learn from your experiences. Thank you for reading and happy real self-care! 

In This Post:

Editor`s Pick:
Stay In Touch

Never miss an important update. Be the first to receive our exclusive beauty tips straight into your inbox.