What is the difference between Self-care versus Self-Discovery?

I’ve been working on this blog post for a couple weeks now, to better explain the stark difference between self-care and self-discovery. Self-care and self-discovery are both influential part of mental well-being.Throughout this exploration of attempting to define self-care  and self-discovery, I have found it imperative to give justice to both pursuits. I have gained some greater clarity and admiration for both ways that one provides survival and the other provides fulfillment. 

Definitions: 

Self-care (noun): the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. The practice of taking active role in protecting one’s own well-being during periods of stress. Self-care is also daily or weekly routines that reduce and manage stress on an on-going basis through identifying needs that prevent distress and burnout. 

  • reduce stress
  • take better care of yourself
  • cultivate healthy habits
  • prevent burnout
  • improve time-management 
  • develop thoughtful/ optimal routines’
  • improve mental health
  • prescriptive / manages symptoms 

Self-Care Activities

Time management & prioritization

Label non-negotiables

Identify: Physical

Identify: Spiritual 

Identify: Emotional 

Identify: Psychological 

Identify: Professional

Identify: Personal 

Schedule your daily/ weekly/ monthly self-care needs 

Create an Optimal Week Planner

Self-discovery (noun): the process of acquiring into one’s own character. This is the process of learning about yourself and who you are. This could happen in therapy and meditating. An example of self-discovery is becoming aware of self by way of knowledge and understanding. 

  • gain insight after a big change, such as a heart break, divorce, & job loss 
  • creative journey to understand self
  • access greater insight 
  • cultivate/ find your purpose & passions
  • participate in a  ‘AWAKENING’

Self-Discovery: Activities

Personal Inspiration Map 

Imaginary Life/ Vision Exercises by Julia Cameron

Vision Exercises 

Writing/ Journaling 

Talk Therapy

Deep conversations 

Recently, I was listening to Sophia Roe speak on differentiating self-discovery versus self-care. This is a topic that interest me because at times self-care and self-discovery can be very confused and used interchangeably. When self-care is used interchangeably with self-discovery, I’m left with thoughts: “ Is  jumping on a plane and moving to another country “self-care”? “ On the other hand, when self-discovery is used interchangeably with self-discovery, I’m left with thoughts: “Is this $100 manicure a way to me finding myself, hence, “self-discovery”? . 

Self-discovery is usually defined as getting to know and understand self in a deep way. Self-discovery is sought ought after a significant event where processing is necessary and “affirmations” and “positivity” will not cut it. 

Self-discovery at times is confused with self-care, but they are very different. At times, I have found self-discovery be more effective for mental well-being compared to immediate and short-term results.  On the other hand, I have found self-care be a life-saver and a way to build routines that if applied consistently can also be a form of getting past survival-mode. 

You may notice, I am attracted to self-discovery, although uncomfortable/confusing, it has longer lasting effects, such as  connection to self, clarity, and fulfillment.  I believe that self-discovery cultivates living in your values which is a key to personal satisfaction and reduction in anxious and depressive symptoms.  

So, what do I think of self-care? As mentioned, self-care at times manifests itself in control. That means an individual starts learning tactics to manage anxious and depressive symptoms through yoga, exercise, mindfulness/meditation, support systems, CBD, check-check-check. So, yes, at-times self-care can be some new form of control to manage symptoms, but does not provide you true insight in what makes you happy and why no-matter how many deep breaths you take, self-help books you read, and exercise classes you go to you remain dissatisfied with yourself. 

The goal of this post is to inspire self-discovery for you to get in touch with depth of yourself as being. This may mean that you will get more comfortable finding yourself through  personal inspiration map, therapy, and/or writing. You may be surprised of you inner imagination/wishes that consist of you as a  singer, dancer, artist, writer, or ninja. I want to give you persuasion to not let yourself be surprised by how dynamic you are and how you seek your life to be.