Have you been feeling overwhelmed lately? You’re not alone – life can pile up quickly and leave us drained.
That’s why it is essential to practice self-care in our lives, especially when things get tough.
But what really is self-care?
Prioritizing self-care is an essential yet often overlooked aspect of health and wellness.
According to Lyra Health, self-care isn’t a reward, a coping strategy, or a right you have to earn, and effective self-care typically isn’t glamorous.
Instead, self-care is about meeting your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and embracing healthy habits that protect against stress.
In other words, self-care is a preventive measure.
These practices could range from a healthy diet, regular workout, and adequate sleep, to spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or even quiet introspection.
Self-care non-negotiables are essential practices that you must commit to daily for your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
It fosters resilience enhances productivity, and ultimately leads to a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Self-care is a deliberate act of maintaining or improving one’s health and well-being, both physically and emotionally.
According to Everyday Health,
“Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well”
A self-care expert quoted by the Heart Association elaborates that for her, self-care means working towards a healthy body, peaceful mind, and joyful heart.
Experts agree that good feelings resulting from self-care can:
- boost your ability to deal with stress
- solve problems
- think flexibly
- and even fight disease
This involves activities that improve physical health like exercise, eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep, and taking care of personal hygiene.
- going for a run
- practicing yoga
- scheduling regular medical check-ups.
This includes practices that help you connect, process, and reflect on a full range of emotions.
- writing in a journal
- seeing a therapist
- practicing mindfulness and meditation.
Activities that nurture and deepen the relationships with the people in your life.
- spending time with family and friends
- connecting with a new person
- participating in a social event
Activities that stimulate your mind and expand your knowledge.
- reading a book
- visiting a museum
- engaging in a hobby that challenges you intellectually.
Practices that help you develop a deeper sense of meaning, understanding, and connection with the universe.
- attending a religious service
- spending time in nature, or other practices that help you feel more connected to the world around you.
This involves activities that help you find balance in your life and career, such as setting boundaries, taking breaks, developing skills, or seeking out professional development opportunities.
We’ve just learned what self-care is and the different ways we can practice it.
Now, let’s look at five key reasons why making time for self-care should be a must-do, not a maybe.
Taking care of yourself physically can boost your immune system functioning. This can help protect you from common illnesses and more serious diseases.
Practicing self-care is vital for maintaining optimal work performance. It helps combat fatigue and prevents burn-out, which can significantly impair productivity.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, attributes her success to self-care.
After a 2007 collapse from sleep deprivation, she reshaped her lifestyle, incorporating healthy habits like yoga, meditation, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet.
“People who slow down enough to be fully present in their work and enjoy it will be able to do that work longer and perform better over time,” she says.
She even implemented wellness initiatives at HuffPost and later established Thrive Global to combat burnout.
Her commitment to self-care has not only enhanced her personal well-being but has also been instrumental in her professional success.
- Start Your Day Right: Begin with a healthy breakfast and perhaps a bit of exercise to energize your body.
- Create To-Do Lists: This can help keep you organized and give you a sense of accomplishment as tasks are completed.
- Take Regular Breaks: Short breaks throughout the day can help maintain steady productivity and prevent burnout.
- Reward Yourself: Treat yourself when you reach certain milestones to make work more enjoyable.
- Learn to Say No: Overcommitting can lead to chronic stress and burnout. It’s important to understand your limits and not overextend yourself.
- Utilize Available Resources: Use any mental health resources provided by your employer to maintain a balanced mental state.
Self-care routines have been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, and lower stress levels. Engaging in activities you enjoy can help distract from stressors and promote relaxation.
Self-care, according to HealthyPlace is activities that can significantly improve your self-esteem.
By taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, you show yourself the respect you deserve, which in turn boosts your self-image and self-worth.
Understanding the importance of self-care and having the confidence to manage your well-being are linked to maintaining self-confidence over time, especially in managing chronic illnesses.
- Healthy Eating
- Regular Exercise
- Learning a New Skill
- Personal Grooming
Regular self-care practices can help manage and reduce stress levels significantly.
This is because these practices often involve activities that relax the mind and body. An important part of self-care is having a healthy work-life balance.
By making time for relaxation and recreation, you can reduce work-related stress.
Additionally, this practice may decrease the likelihood of developing health conditions associated with:
- Cardiovascular Diseases
- Mental Health Disorders
- Digestive Problems
- Sleep Disorders
- Skin Conditions
- Weight Problems
- Reproductive Issues
- Musculoskeletal Problems
Self-care is vital for maintaining a healthy balance between personal and romantic lives.
When we are less stressed due to self-care, we can access our healthy coping skills more effectively, which improves relationships
Here are a few examples of self-care we can do to enhance relationships
- Quality Sleep: When you’re well-rested, you’re more likely to be patient, and understanding, and foster a positive mindset that helps in your relationships.
- Setting Boundaries: It’s important to understand and communicate your personal limits in any relationship. This can help prevent resentment and misunderstanding.
- Pursuing Hobbies: Engaging in activities that you love can help you maintain a sense of individuality and personal fulfillment, which can contribute positively to your relationships.
- Seeking Support When Needed: Therapists and counselors can provide valuable tools and strategies for managing stress and improving relationships.
Regular self-care activities not only boost physical and mental health but also enhance overall life satisfaction. It can lead to improved relationships, better work-life balance, and a more positive outlook on life.
The human body and mind have a unique way of signaling when they need extra care.
Here are the warning signs indicating that self-care should be your primary focus:
- Chronic fatigue or lack of energy even after getting a good night’s sleep.
- Unexplained headaches or other physical pains.
- Significant changes in appetite or weight without any changes to diet or exercise routines.
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried.
- Difficulty experiencing joy or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable.
- Frequent mood swings or emotional outbursts.
- Withdrawing from social interactions and preferring to spend time alone.
- Struggling to maintain relationships or feeling disconnected from loved ones.
- Avoiding or canceling social obligations regularly.
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things.
- Persistent negative thoughts or excessive worrying.
- Difficulty making decisions or solving problems.
- Feeling disconnected or detached from your spiritual practices.
- Lack of purpose or direction in life.
- Questioning or doubting long-held beliefs.
- Neglecting responsibilities or failing to accomplish tasks.
- Overindulging in behaviors like eating, drinking, or shopping is a form of escape.
- Engaging in risky or harmful behaviors.
Take Note: These signs are indicators that you may need to prioritize self-care and possibly seek professional help. Ignoring these signs can lead to serious health consequences. Always consult with health care providers if you experience any of these symptoms.
Starting a self-care routine can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some simple and effective self-care ideas to help you get started:
Taking care of yourself is essential to living a long, meaningful life.
You are not selfish for putting yourself first, you’re wise and strong for doing it.
Remember, if you won’t fill your own cup nobody else can do it for you.
Self-care means different things to different people but no matter what it looks like in your life, it’s very important to make self-care non-negotiable.
After all, no one knows better how to take care of yourself than you do and the better you take care of yourself the better the quality of your life will be!
So, if this blog had you thinking twice about your perception of self-care habits, don’t wait any seconds and start your self-care plan now.
Check out our latest blog: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Self-Care Plan – and get a jumpstart on that well-deserved time for yourself today!