Self-care vs. Self-soothing

Have you been recently taking care of yourself or trying to self-sooth? During difficult times such as the state of pandemic, we all try to find comfort in our ever day lives. However, some of us instead of taking care of our needs and wants, try to find distraction by engaging in self-soothing behaviors.


So, what is a difference between self-care and self-soothing?

Self-care is simply taking care of your needs. It doesn’t meant that you need to eat a box of ice cream or binge watch the whole season of some show. It means that you will use your rational thinking and mindful mind when making choices regarding comfort that you need. That doesn’t mean that you need to deprive yourself from snacks and sweets. It means that you will use a good judgment and moderation while making choices. Self-care activities are the ones that strengthen you and improve your well-being.

However, there are times when we need self-soothing. After the long day at work, stressful conversation with our boss, difficult exam. We need closeness with our husband or best friend, a hug from our parents, kiss from our child or a long bubble bath full of lavender oils and scents. This examples of self-soothinng behaviors serve you in a moment because they comfort you by separating your from avoidance, distraction, denial, or numbing.

We all need care, comfort, and soothing. We deserve to have it all so give yourself what you really need in a moment. Be mindful and avoid judging yourself if you engaged in self-soothing activities to temporary remove the pain that you feel. Be generous and compassionate towards yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for little “self -soothing hiccups” but learn from it and make different choices next time.


We live in very unpredictable times and we all need comfort and reassurance that eventually life will get back to normal. As much as we need to find this comfort and reassurance we also need to deeply take care of ourselves and our personal needs.

Here is what you can do to self-care:

~ Read a book

~ Exercise when you can

~ Spend unstructered times with your kids

~ Go on a “lockdown” date with your partner/husband

~ Cook because you want to not because you have to

~ Learn how to co-exist with your family via FaceTime, video calls, Zoom

~ Watch your favorite show..or two..or five

~ Don’t try to be a super wife, supermom, superboss, superwoman

~ Go outside

~ Dance

~ Do Yoga, Zumba, Pilates

Here are short-term/temporary but often beneficial self – soothing strategies:

~ Take a bubble bath

~ Put a cold/frozen towel soaked in essential oils ( ex.lavender) on your face and breath

~ Take a cool shower

~ Listen to your favorite music or calming sounds of ocean, wind, or waterfalls

~ Cover yourself with weighted blanket

~ Hug your husband, kids, dog

~ Cry

~ Drink herbal tea or hot chocolate

~ Take a mental vacation to your favorite vacation destination (guided imagery)

Visit us on Facebook at to read more therapeutic tips and strategies!