I’m not usually a fan of the bath.  I feel like it takes ages to set up, it’s never the ‘perfect’ temperature, you get neck ache from the side of the tub and then when you get out you’re sliding all over the place!

There is one scenario when I will dive into the bath head first though, and that’s when I’m a raging hormonal mess, cramping and crying in equal measure!  At that point it’s Netflix on my iPad, nothing but candles, a huge bath bomb and a hot chocolate (and preferably normal chocolates as well please).  The door is locked and I’m not coming out for anyone.

For ages I used to think this was self-care, but I’ve been reading a lot of self help books recently and found that what I’ve actually been doing every month is self-soothing, and that is a different thing to self-care.

Self-care is a fairly recent term and is a very popular one as people spend more and more time working and less time looking after themselves.  And it’s super important that we have strategies to incorporate both self-care and self-soothing into our lives.

So let’s have a look at the differences between the two.  A lot of things that we describe as self-care is actually self-soothing.  Soothing is something you do to comfort yourself, to make you feel better.  The difference between this and self-care is that self-care is something you might not enjoy doing.

I’ll give you an example.  It’s Friday night, you’ve had a terrible day at work where nothing has gone right, you had a fallout with your mum and you’ve got a splitting headache.  Self-soothing would be getting straight into your pyjamas, ordering a chippy, cuddling your dog and watching a rom com.  Self-care might look a little different.  Maybe you take some time to identify the boundaries that were crossed between you and your mum and try and work it out.  Maybe it’s looking over your diary and planning out focus time in your day, and maybe you drink a pint of water before an early night to head off that headache.

Now there’s no reason why you can’t do both, right?  Once a month I spend an evening reflecting on my finances and planning for my next payday, and total honesty, I haaaaate doing it.  I hate looking at the little things I spent money on, and then hate the fact that I’m budgeting to not buy them for next month (let’s be honest, I’m gonna buy them again).  This is not a soothing activity for me, but it is a caring one.  I need to do this because it puts me ahead of the curve for the next month and helps me to feel at ease and in control of my money.

So how do I make that self-care activity feel more self-soothing I light some scented candles, I put some music on, I pour myself a big glass of G&T, and I get my spreadsheet going!

How can you combine self-care and self-soothing in future?  Go for a walk first thing with a cup of luxury coffee?  Start journaling while soaking in the tub?  Plan your meals while playing with a pet?  The combinations are endless and we have the luxury bespoke gift sets to help you or a loved one on the path to self love.

Written by Hannah Selby-Hughes

October 07, 2022 — Julie Selby