Everyone seems to be talking about self-care right now. The loose definition is anything you do deliberately to care for your mental, emotional and physical health.

I think a lot of us are swayed by the idea of Lush products, fancy candles, and expensive face masks as the best things for self-care. But self-care needs to be internal as well as external. Things like ridding your life of toxic friendships don't sound as instantly gratifying as the cozy things like taking a bubble bath. But they're just as important, if not more important when it comes to self-care.

Not to put down the power of bath bombs and crystals, because I've been there.

Recently, I went through a rough patch. To cope, I dabbled in self-care. I would use a variety of bath products and face masks. Taking a daily nap was my idea of 'me' time. I spent money on crystals and self-help books that now gather dust on my shelves. And the truth is those baths and naps may have been nice at the moment, but they did nothing to improve my quality of life in the long run.

So I say "screw that" to the idea that self-care is all about chunky blankets and expensive bubble baths.

Everything that I was doing for myself back then was just a band-aid. It gave me the appearance of feeling better and taking care of myself, but it was only covering up the pain and ugliness below the surface. Self-care also needs to be about actually taking care of yourself!

My happiness and mood improved when I did things that changed my life. I quit the job that was making me miserable. Instead of napping, I started taking care of my body and taking better care of my dog. Instead of spending money on bath bombs, face masks, and whatever else, I started saving up for things I really wanted, like concert tickets and beach trips.

I'm not saying you have to stop enjoying your bath products and bottles of wine. All these things that we typically associate with the idea of self-care are great ways to relax, unwind, and recuperate your energy at the end of the week. And self-care looks different for everyone. But don't fool yourself into thinking that relaxing all the time is going to make your life better. At some point, you need to go after the things you want and figure out how to make yourself happier in the long run.

True self-care is not just salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don't need to regularly escape from.