KOPPLIN: Telling the difference between self-care and procrastination

Whether it’s taking time off work, limiting your stress, cleaning out your car or having a spa day, self-care is essential for keeping a healthy mind and body. Without self-care, people can become overwhelmed, easily irritable and experience more frustration in their lives, which can all be prevented by simply focusing on themselves.

However, letting self-care become an excuse for not completing goals is a bad habit to get into. When self-sufficiency gets in the way of productivity, such as homework and chores, it becomes an even bigger problem than not doing it at all.

Self-care needs to be balanced with self-discipline in order for it to work efficiently. Without self-discipline, this personal treatment can consume your time and stall progress in other areas of your life.

Using self-care as an excuse for procrastination or laziness is counterproductive to the mission of bettering yourself. Below are several questions to ask in order to check yourself and ensure good intentions for your self-care routines.

1. Is your self-care routine used to avoid productivity?

Scheduling self-care over important events like lectures, classes or club meetings points to the fact that you may simply be avoiding those responsibilities. Self-care routines set up for avoidance are not going to lower stress because you will still have to face the overload of work when you return. If your self-care routine stops you from attending other obligations, you could be at risk of falling even more behind in your work, which can overall lead to more stress.

2. Are you feeling overwhelmed, or is it just a lack of motivation?

A little bit of stress is sometimes necessary to keep you accountable for your work. Some stress can be motivating, as it can make you want to get whatever is worrying you done and out of the way, but too much stress can be overwhelming. There are ways to get energized to do schoolwork other than procrastinating with self-care. For example, setting goals before study sessions, rewarding yourself with a break or creating a to-do list to check things off as you go are productive ways to get through your work.

3. Will you feel better after self-care, or will there still be something unfinished?

If your problem is that you haven’t spent enough time on yourself or you’re feeling the need for some alone time, then self-care is the way to go. However, if you need to write an essay and you just can’t find the willpower to do it, focusing on self-care instead will not solve your problem or make you feel better. Instead, try asking for help, bouncing ideas off friends and professors or doing more research. Once your task is complete, you’ll enjoy treating yourself more.

Although self-care is important for being calm and content with yourself, when it is used as an excuse for avoiding a situation, it can ultimately become a tool for procrastination and hinder you more in the process.