How to shift out of self-care fatigue

Alicia Morrow
6 min readApr 4, 2022


Sometimes taking care of yourself can feel like it takes a lot of energy.

It’s normal and natural to go through cycles of being on top of everything, and to then have times when you can’t for the life of you make yourself workout, keep your home tidy, or eat in a healthy way.

There’s nothing wrong with you if your self-care routine has stalled. We all go through times when we’re less than stellar at it, especially when life is asking a lot of us.

Sometimes we just need to let ourselves be less structured, disorganized, messy, and free to explore a different reality.

If you’re in this place today and it’s been a while since you tidied your home, wore something other than yoga gear, or ate something that wasn’t take-out or from a box, check in with yourself.

How is this way of living working for you?

How is it affecting your mood? Your motivation? Your outlook on life?

Is letting it all slide helping you to feel good?

Because that’s the whole point of self-care — to feel good.

If you’ve slipped into self-care fatigue and you can’t seem to muster the chutzpah to get back on the wagon, here are some ways to shift out of self-care fatigue:

1)Let go of discipline.

You heard that right. Let discipline go. I’m not saying that you should let go of the focus or intention that we all need to move us in a particular direction. Those things are needed. But discipline is something that is ruled by our minds. The very nature of discipline will entice you to rebel against it.

So instead of telling yourself you need to be more disciplined, ask yourself what you can be devoted to.

When you lean into devotion instead of discipline, you lean into a loving heart space for yourself instead of a pressurized mandate to perform. Can you be devoted to feeling good? Rested? Confident? Strong? Healthy? Alive? Your devotion can support the choices you make from a very different place inside of yourself, even when it comes to self-care.

What if self-care was about being devoted to yourself, or your desires, at an entirely new level? Making this small shift in how you think about “doing” self-care can make all the difference you need to snap out of a self-care slump.

2)Block off unstructured time for yourself.

Nearly every woman I know is caught up in an addiction to doing. We feel guilty or anxious or deeply uncomfortable with the idea of not filling all our time with something productive. This can lead to a real sense of burnout, overwhelm, exhaustion and even resentment because there’s no room for the parts of us that just want to be fluid and instantaneous, or the parts that really need to rest, or that deep inner longing to have life feel less regimented and demanding.

As women, we thrive when we have time in our lives to daydream, take our time, feel, go slow, and just BE. In fact, scheduling what I call “unstructured time” into your life can be one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a lot. An hour here and there can be wonderful — more time is even better.

The only thing it does have to be, is time when you’re not catching up on things you feel behind on, or any of the million things in your life that keep you busy.

Unstructured time is about YOU. Block it off in your calendar, then ask yourself, what would feel really amazing to do right now? It might be to take a nap or go to the beach or to take a hike in the mountains for 90-minutes. It could be to call a friend, read, paint, go shopping, or dream about what you really want to be doing or creating in your life.

Unstructured time is such a gift to yourself, and a powerful antidote to self-care fatigue.

3)Get current with what’s working for you.

Sometimes we have an idea of what we should be doing for self-care, but that idea isn’t truly meeting who we are and what we need NOW. As someone who has been dealing with health issues for years, my very basic self-care routine started to feel like a full-time J.O.B. I hit self-care fatigue fast and stopped doing many of the things I knew would actually help.

When I took the time to really look at this for myself, I realized that some of the things on my self-care list were things that, at one time, were supportive to me. But they didn’t actually feel helpful to me today. It was a relief to realize I could let go of the things that weren’t relevant to me now and create more space for myself or swap them out for things that were super supportive now. This helped me not only get current and honest with myself, but also find the things that would make a difference in my life.

Sometimes self-care is less about how much you’re doing, and more about finding just the right things that really make a difference to you NOW.

4)Check in with your inner Over-Achiever & Perfectionist.

Most women have an inner Over-Achiever and/or an inner Perfectionist. While I believe both of these parts of ourselves are very well-intentioned, if they are let loose on their own without ‘supervision’ they can place a lot of unrealistic and unnecessary demands on us that have not-so-great consequences.

My inner perfectionist demands that I do all my self-care rituals perfectly, and without fail. Her intentions are that I heal as quickly as possible because the way she sees it, the more perfectly I care for myself, the more quickly I will heal. This started to backfire when keeping up with perfectionism started adding stress to my life — which actually hinders healing.

If your inner Over-Achiever and/or inner Perfectionist has led you to believe that your self-care must look a certain way, there is likely a fear in there that they are trying to protect you from. What does your inner Over-Achiever and/or Inner Perfectionist think will happen, or not happen, if you don’t do things in a certain way all the time? Take note.

Then ask yourself if those thoughts and fears are true. What could be possible if they weren’t true? What would you do differently?

Self-care fatigue is inevitable when you approach the very nurturing act of caring for yourself from a place of perfectionism, unrealistic demands, and fear. Instead, I invite you to recognize, appreciate, and even celebrate all that you are doing for you. It’s likely more than you acknowledge yourself for.

5)Choose joy.

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” — Henri J.M. Nouwen

With everything that is going on in the world today, many of us feel that it’s only appropriate to push our joy away. How can we feel joy when so many are dealing with devastating things?

I understand this logic, but to be honest, I don’t see any benefit to all of us shutting down our joy. I don’t think the world, or even those who are suffering right now, will benefit from any of us saying no to joy.

I think of self-care as a way to stay sane in a fairly insane world. So, when you think about the things you do, or know you could be doing to care for yourself, how can you invite more joy into the equation?

What would make your self-care routine feel fun? Light? Colorful? Then add those things in. You can make JOY the focus, and whatever you’re doing for self-care the something you’re doing along the way.

Self-care continues to be super important for all of us right now. And with everything we’ve been through, and all we are facing still, it’s something to double down on whenever and wherever you can.

My suggestions above really work! Give them a try and see if they invite a bit more life into your life.

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Alicia Morrow

Crafting a new way for women to lead and live from their full vitality, beauty & power. *Visionary, Coach, Writer & Mother*