5 Barriers to Self-Care: Stop running on an empty tank

5 Barriers to Self-Care: Stop running on an empty tank

I’ve decided to write this post: 5 barriers to self-care as a way of helping someone out there who might want to practice good self-care habits but not achieving much.We know what happens when the car tank is on zero, right? Yes, the car can’t go anywhere until the tank is refilled.

I fear that most of us are running around on empty tanks really, we push and stretch ourselves and unfortunately unlike a car that won’t start, we keep going. It’s time to do overcome the 5 barriers to self-care and adopt good habits in order to stop running on an empty tank!

Our world and lifestyles have become so busy; we are living what I would call, “always on the go” lifestyles. There’s a lot competing for our attention and time. Things like work, family, school, social activities and so on are very demanding, there is no end to the to-dos.

How then can one find balance, or is there anything such thing as balance to begin with?

To answer this, I’m going to address 5 barriers to self-care which make us run on empty tanks. Within these barriers, I also provide some ways you can use to overcome these issues and thrive in your personal life.


Here is what’s causing you to run on an empty tank and neglect good self-care habits


You don’t just end up running on an empty tank. Usually it’s those things that we may think are fulfilling but, if overly done, can lead to burnout. Below are the 5 barriers to self-care to look out for:


Inability to say NO and ENOUGH

The first thing that comes to my mind is the inability to say NO or ENOUGH! Does that resonate with you? It does with me. I used to be that person who couldn’t say no even when feeling overwhelmed. We want to help and to be that reliable individual in someone’s life but this must be done with prudence. Learning to say no or enough can be really empowering. 

Here’s the thing, some people are genuinely in need of help and you can use your good judgement to discern that. But, we have those people who just can’t skin their own skunks. Those who feel that someone else must help out or sort out their issues while they sit back.

When you know that someone is just making it a habit of asking for your help even when they can do something to solve the problem, it’s time to take a step back and just say no and enough. You can save yourself a lot of energy, enjoy peace of mind and avoid unnecessary stress when you learn when to help and when to just say no without being arrogant or nasty about it.


Unwillingness to ask for help 

Sometimes we drain ourselves by trying to do EVERYTHING on our own. It’s okay to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. Trust me, it took me many years to learn this important principle. Asking for help, especially with tasks doesn’t mean that you are weak. Moms especially find themselves on their feet from morning to bedtime, trying to keep everything up and running. This may cause exhaustion and burnout.

While you may want to get your things done the exact way you want, it’s also very helpful to involve your family members to give you a hand with some tasks. Ask your spouse, kids, sisters, brothers or parents to help out when you feel overwhelmed.  We may assume that people won’t be able to help, but that is not always the fact. Some family members really want to help out. Let’s open our mouths, suck our pride and get the help we may need to avoid running on empty tanks!


Lack of planning and organisation skills

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax”. – Unknown.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of planning and organizing. No matter what task you have, big or small, take time to plan and organize yourself and everything you will need to accomplish the task. This habit will save you so much time and will definately help you to avoid unnecessary pressure.

I can’t suggest how you can plan out your day and tasks but there are good resources you can use. Find what work best for you; the point is to get organized and plan whatever you intend to do. Here’s one of my best self-care tips articles to get you started; 45 simple self-care practices. 

For all the busy moms out there, how about starting with meal planning? Putting a meal at the table everyday takes a lot of work, and moms are real busy. Taking the initiative to plan out meals can help you to organised with your family meals. You can take a look at this easy daily meal planning kit to make things a bit bearable.



While the causes of depression differ from individual to individual, it’s very vital to seek professional help. I have associated with people who have suffered from serious depression and they all testified that it’s real, and very draining emotionally and physically. It can be difficult to open up and seek help when suffering from depression but help is available, and recovery is possible. 


Fear of judgment 

One big thing we all want and seek after as humans is acceptance. Now, with this need comes a lot of pressure and fear even. Sometimes we over do certain things and push ourselves so hard just to avoid being judged. An eternal truth that we all need to come to terms with is that, someone is bound to say something negative about us or be judgmental.

How do we best deal with this issue? I feel building your self-esteem is a good way to deal with judgment from other people. As individuals, we really need to be ENOUGH without anyone validating this to us. Know your worth and remind yourself everyday that you are important and enough! Doing this helps you to practice good self-care and stop running on an empty tank.



It may seem hard to slow down and start paying attention to some healthy self-care habits but it can be done. Start taking the necessary steps and eliminate the above 5 barriers to self-care and stop running on an empty tank.

Practicing healthy habits and looking after yourself helps you to function fully and give your very best. It’s not too late to practice self-care, take the first baby steps and see yourself thrive!


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