Is Self-Discipline the New Self-Care?

Lately, self-care has become all about routine – your morning routine, skincare routine, etc. While I love a good routine, I get asked how I prevent it from becoming rigid and how I balance spontaneity? For me, having non-negotiables in my routine allow me to be my best self. I’m very into certain routines that support my wellbeing and add structure where I need it in my life. Having self-discipline then allows me to challenge myself and be spontaneous because my routines (exercise, mental health, etc.) give me energy and mental clarity. However, that doesn’t mean I have routines that I can’t deviate from – it’s more about having them in place as a foundation to build a life around.

In my opinion, you can’t have self-care without discipline because it requires sacrifice and a deep understanding of your priorities. It’s not easy to forgo a piece of chocolate for a piece of fruit after a stressful day at work. It’s not easy waking up at 5am to go to the gym before heading to the office. It’s much easier to hit the snooze button or turn the TV on instead of picking up a book. It takes self-discipline to do the things that are good for us rather than what feels good in the moment. So, in a sense, self-care really isn’t all that sexy. It’s work! It’s committing to putting what matters most above all else.

That being said, having a stringent routine that creates guilt is not self-care. Making fitness a priority is great, but it doesn’t mean that if you skip a workout then your day is ruined. Or, just because you’re committed to eating a healthy diet doesn’t mean that if you have a piece of cake then you should beat yourself up about it. If your routines are too stringent and preventing you from living a balanced life, then I suggest asking yourself why you created them to begin with. Is it because you want to nourish and fuel your body, or is it because you’re afraid of gaining weight? Is it because you want to feel your best or is it because you want to change something about yourself?

Self-care is all about mindset and doing things out of love. Love yourself enough to make moving your body a priority, but when taken too far, that is not self-care. There is so much more to life than attaining a fitness goal. So, while I absolutely believe discipline is essential for self-care, what it really boils down to is the reason behind it.