What Happens When We Neglect Self-Care

Life is busy and you may be tempted to think self-care is just one more thing you don’t have time for. One more thing to check off a list. Or, that self-care is only for the indulgent. Unfortunately, there are very real and even dire consequences to neglecting self-care and they go far beyond your physical appearance.

We will assume here that you are already aware of what self-care actually is if you are searching for the detriments of not practicing it. If you need a refresher, please check out this quick read:

There are three primary areas of self-care: physical, emotional and spiritual. It is important to address all areas as a holistic unit to total well-being and overall wellness. The effects of neglecting each one show up differently in life, so we will take a look at each area.

The Physical Body Suffers When Self-Care is Neglected

The area most commonly thought of with self-care is the physical body. Most times one thinks of the surface, how we actually look. Is our hair disheveled? Are our clothes clean and neat? Are we clean and groomed?

While these are important, the category of physical self-care goes much deeper. It includes everything we do to take care of our physical body. This would include the food we eat, how we move our body, and our sleep routines, for example.

When we neglect any of those areas, we first start to see tiredness or sluggishness, an overall lack of energy or focus. We will begin to see more colds or sickness as our immune system starts to suffer. We will likely gain weight and loose muscle tone and strength. We could see acne, hair loss, and skin disorders. We could start to see the development of varying diseases. Loss of libido, enthusiasm and overall passion for life.

Our Emotional State Deteriorates When We Fail to Practice Self-Care

When neglecting emotional self-care we are rushing through this busy life without taking the time to slow down and look inward. Our emotions have been shown to affect not just our relationships with others and how we see and treat ourselves, but also the physical health of our bodies.

When we neglect emotional self-care, we can become angry, depressed, overwhelmed, stressed, short tempered, defensive, fearful, guilt-ridden, self-absorbed, self-loathing, isolated.

Our emotional status and thus self-care affects our own inner journey in this life—how we experience life and what we feel each day. It also impacts our relationships—how we interact with friends, family, co-workers. It will determine the type of connections we make and their depth and quality.

Our Spiritual State Spirals When Not Tended

Our spiritual practice may be religious or not. In essence our spiritual quest is being in tune with our higher selves and how we relate to the people and the world around us. Connecting with our higher power and examining the true essence of who we are at our core.

If you were to strip away the influences of the world and learned behaviors, who are you really? At your core, are you kind and gracious and loving and thoughtful, for example. Where do you fit in the big scheme of things?

This takes time and self focus. It requires us to slow down and look inward. To explore ourselves and all we know to be true. To connect with who we truly are and develop those qualities.

In the buzz and bluster of life, we can easily bypass this all together. We can run on autopilot with who we have been conditioned to become running our lives. In this scenario, neglecting spiritual self-care, can lead one to become pessimistic, harsh, abrupt, hurried, calloused, jaded, stressed, anxious, lacking empathy, lacking deep connections, purpose, or meaning in life.


At our core, we all want to live life to the full—with energy, movement, interest and intrigue. To live with vitality and longevity. We want to make a difference and know we lived our best lives—your best life.

It takes taking care of ourselves first in all areas to show up as our best selves. It is these best versions of ourselves that will attract the very best of what life has to offer in return. It is how we thrive and grow and give.