What makes our approach to self-care different?

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on Heather Ross’ podcast Better Me, where we talked many things self-care! You can listen to the episode here. Heather’s blog and podcast are excellent, definitely check both of them out as a really awesome resource (RAR!).

While we were chatting, Heather asked me a really important question: There are a lot of self-care resources and even coaches out there, so what makes Teach Me Self Care’s approach different?

I was glad to talk about this on the podcast, because the more and more we run workshops, courses, coaching opportunities, and even just talk to people about what we do the more I realize we really are different. We’ve found something that people relate to and that works, and that’s really exciting (and rewarding)!

There are 3 ways that our approach here at TMSC is different from what you usually hear about self-care.

Difference #1: We Emphasize Values Over Knowledge

A lot of self-care advice and interventions are centred around knowledge and skills – how to sleep better, time management, nutrition, why you should exercise and on and on and on. We don’t do that. Why? Simple! Most people already know the knowledge and skills they could use to engage in self-care. Most people don’t need more knowledge! What they need is help to sift through all of the advice to figure out what they actually want to do for their own self-care and how to work it into their own lives. That’s values work – knowing what’s important to you and help you learn how to live a life that reflects what’s important to you. Learning how to use your values to inform your self-care – that’s what we do at Teach Me Self Care. (And we don’t spend time prescribing you activities, instead we give you help and space to figure out what YOU want self-care to look like).

Difference #2: We Emphasize Individualization, Not Prescriptions

There is no magic bullet for self-care. There are no specific activities that will magically fix everyone’s challenges with self-care. In fact, research indicates that the benefits of self-care are not activity specific. We could spend a lot of time telling you what to do – but it wouldn’t work! In our approach we emphasize what YOU need, how to make YOUR self-care workable, and how to use your values to develop an individualized approach to self-care. Just like there are an almost infinite number of core personal values any human being might hold, there are an almost infinite number of ways to engage in self-care. What works for one person might not work for another. There is no one size fits all approach to self-care. We help people find the personalized approach that works for them.

Difference #3: We Focus on Moving Toward not Moving Away

In our view, we can roughly divide motivation for self-care into two types: The type that moves us toward what’s important to us (also called appetitive motivation for our fellow psychology nerds out there) and the type that moves us away from something we do not want to experience (also called aversive or avoidant motivation).

Here are some examples of their differences:

A lot of us are driven by aversive motivation. That makes sense if you remember that at its core our brain’s job is to keep us safe and alive! It is constantly scanning our lives for threats and making sure it brings them to our attention. (That’s also why we feel guilty when we do self-care instead of working).

But moving toward what’s important to you – WOW! That’s where joy, vitality, meaning, and engagement in our lives come from. If you can tap into that as part of your self-care, not only will self-care be easier to persevere with but you will also get more benefits from it, make time for it, and love doing it. That’s what we’re all about here at TMSC.

(If you haven’t read it already, you might want to check out our past blog post on why traditional approaches to self-care just don’t work).

In self-care solidarity,