Is Self-Care Different From Self-Maintenance?

The concise answer to this question is “yes”.

There is a certain misconception that self-care has to look and feel a certain way. That self-care is in the pampering bubble baths, spa treatments, making the effort to look good, and buying things that make you feel beautiful like the latest eyeshadow palette or jewellery. 

self-care and self-maintenance.
Source: California Coalition

All of these things make us feel good at the moment, and that is not what self-care is about. 

As for self-maintenance, aesthetics is non-optional. This is where the bubble baths, spa treatments, and skincare routines come into play. If there was one word that describes each of these things, it is safe to say that self-maintenance is an action, while self-care is a process.

What Is Self-Maintenance?

Source: Unsplash

In simple terms, self-maintenance is all about how you look, and how you present yourself. In other words, the time and effort you put into your appearance. This does not just refer to going for a facial every month and getting your nails. Sure, it constitutes those things, but less superficially. How you look says a lot about how much you take care of yourself and how you see yourself. 

Along with the manicures and trendy haircuts, this also includes your posture, body language, diet, and how much exercise you get regularly. Self-maintenance shows how much you are worth in your own eyes.

What Does Self-Care Really Look Like?

Source: Unsplash

Sometimes self-care does not look like self-care at all. 

It is not placing slices of cucumber on your eyes and taking a break for half an hour before returning to work.

It is not the constant pursuit of things that you think will make you feel happy. The biggest part about being human is feeling a plethora of dynamic emotions that are not always in your control. And happiness is only one of those emotions. So it is not guaranteed that all those brand-new purchases will make you feel positive about yourself in the long run. 

Self-care allows you to acknowledge those days when you do not feel you are very best. it helps you push through these days with as much ease as possible, and emerge out the other end of the problem, calm, in control, and finally at peace. It allows you to take care of your future self.

How Can I Take Care Of My Future Self?

Align With Who You Are

Source: Medium

Ditch the mental mask you wear and untrap your inner self. Express yourself authentically. Open up about your problems and release all the negative energy within you.

Be Kind To Yourself

Source: TED ideas

Our worst critic is our own mind. Dealing with a problem should not include you beating yourself up for the problem and the emotions that it entails. 

Distance Yourself From Inputs That Harm Your Self-Confidence

Source: Healthline

Social media plays a huge role in this. Looking at Instagram models with the “perfect bodies” does more harm than one realizes. 

There is nothing wrong with having certain expectations from yourself and setting goals that you want to work towards. The problem arises when those goals cross over to the unrealistic side. And not achieving the unachievable only makes you depreciate your inner worth.

Take Care Of Your Finances

Source: Due

This may seem like a fairly simple, or even a dumb suggestion. But money is a source of anxiety for most, if not all people. Taking care of your financial responsibilities first and foremost leaves room for you to treat yourself with the extra cash you will have in hand without worrying about anything else. 


In summary, self-care is often confused with self-maintenance. The latter is an effective way to maintain the way you look on the outside, but through self-care, you address the way you feel and heal your inner self.

But both are equally crucial for living a balanced life with a body and mind that is in peace. 

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