Self-care is something we should be doing every day to promote our physical and mental well-being. It can be challenging to do when we’re balancing work, school, relationships, and children-but it’s important for us and others.
Self-care activities, including exercise, meditation, and sleep bring joy and peace to our lives and prevent burnout, stress, and illness. From emotional health to beauty self-care, tips are shared for men, women, and those in stressful occupations to understand the whats and whys of self-care.
Are you looking for some ways to better care for your physical and emotional well-being? Is stress catching up with you, and not sure how to balance everything better?
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is the things we do to take care of ourselves. It’s physical activity, prayer, meditation, hobbies, arts and crafts, or anything that makes you happy and brings joy and peace to your day. Self-care is something that we need to do regularly to not just take better care of ourselves, but to help us provide care to others. You’re probably already doing some self-care activities, you probably just don’t know it.
Self-care means taking deliberate actions to prioritize and nurture your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It involves engaging in activities that promote relaxation and personal growth. Self-care is essential for maintaining a healthy balance in life, managing stress, and enhancing your overall quality of life.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Self-care is important because it can prevent feelings of burnout, stress, and even health issues. When we experience burnout, it’s all too easy to lose interest in the things that bring us joy and help us care for ourselves-definitely something we need to prevent. Self-care helps us find balance in our lives and better handle when things feel overwhelming or stressful.
Self-care also helps prevent many mental illnesses including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Another important aspect of self-care is loving ourselves. When we show ourselves love, we look better, feel better, sleep better, and even have better self-esteem.
Self-care for mental health includes activities like sleep, meditation, prayer, talking with others, sharing our thoughts, journaling, and even physical activity.
Self-Care and Stress
Stress is part of everyone’s lives-due to work, partners, family, children, school, pets, schedules, and more. When we practice self-care, we’re better able to handle stress. Stress leads to headaches, elevated blood pressure, suppressed immune system, and many other things that can be prevented through self-care.
Whether it’s exercise, adequate sleep, eating right, prayer, or even massage-regular self-care makes many things in our lives better including our physical and mental health. Even if it’s only for a few minutes when you wake up or right before bed, do some self-care daily to help you with managing your stress.
General Self-Care Ideas
We’ve reviewed what self-care is and why it’s important, but let’s switch gears. Now we’re going to talk about what self-care looks like for different aspects of our health.
Self-Care for Mental Health
Mental health is one of the most important things we can focus on. Self-care for mental health includes activities like sleep, meditation, prayer, talking with others, sharing our thoughts, journaling, and even physical activity. All it takes is a few minutes each day to perform self-care for your mental health. When we take these steps to work on our mental health, we’re better at handling stress and managing our emotions.
Self-Care for Emotional Health
Our emotions can get the better of us when things get tough and we haven’t focused on our mental or emotional health. Self-care for emotional health is similar to that for mental health and includes things like journaling or talking to others about our feelings, sharing experiences with others, and even having a good cry when you’re feeling down or watching a sappy movie. Withholding emotions isn’t a sign of strength-it will only stress you out in the long run.
Self-Care for Physical Health
Self-care for physical health is not just about regular personal hygiene, it’s also about disease prevention and management. This includes practices like exercise, taking prescribed medications, eating a healthy diet, and monitoring symptoms if present to keep ourselves physically healthy and live optimally with any chronic illnesses according to nurse researchers Riegel, Jaarsma, Lee, and Stromberg.
Beauty Self-Care Ideas
Beauty self-care isn’t just for women! When we perform personal hygiene, we feel better and we look better. Beauty self-care ideas include everything from bubble baths and showers to facial masks and getting our hair done. Taking the time to care for our physical appearances can vastly improve our mental health and our self-esteem.
Self-Care Tips for Men
Men have a great deal of demands in life-spouse/partner, father, head of household, income-earner, parent, and more. Self-care is really important for men to help them do what they need to get done at work and at home. Self-care tips for men include the following:
- Regular exercise
- Eating right and cooking
- Listening to music and/or playing an instrument
- Reading a book (not the newspaper)
- Decluttering and organizing your space (i.e. workbench, garage, closet, etc.)
- Practice meditation
- Perform personal hygiene (shaving, showering, facial masks, etc.)
- Spend time with spouse/Family time
Self-Care Tips for Women
Men aren’t the only ones with heavy workloads-women are more likely these days to hold down a job (or two) and raise children, along with all of the things that go along with life. Self-care is not only important to help care for spouses and children, but also to provide the example for their families. Self-care tips for women include:
- Pampering yourself
- Finding what relieves your stress
- Spend time with adult friends
- Set and maintain boundaries
- Spend time in nature
- Focus on the positives
- Everything under self-care tips for men (applies to women too!)
Self-Care Based on Occupation
There are some circumstances when self-care is extremely important. From being a student in school to working in high stress, high demand jobs, self-care based on occupation can help you maintain your sanity.
Self-Care for Students
Life is busy when you’re in school, which can make self-care challenging. Self-care for students needs to be part of a schedule for physical and mental health. When there’s work, family needs, studying, and homework, there’s also got to be self-care. Communicating your needs with others also helps with getting help with what you need, setting boundaries, and doing well in school.
Self-Care for Teachers
Teaching is challenging at any age and any level. From kindergarten to graduate school, teachers provide help, guidance, instruction, conflict resolution, and assessment of learning, but they also have to provide reports of all of the above to leadership.
Self-care can help with balancing all of these needs and tasks to reduce stress and burnout. Take time-outs for yourself, exercise, journal, even ask your students what they’re doing to take care of themselves. Self-care for teachers is important because we provide the example to our students-to care for ourselves.
Self-Care for Healthcare Workers
Working in healthcare is challenging because you put the needs of others above your own. For that 12 hour shift you provide care for patients in need, and it’s absolutely exhausting at times. This makes it so important to practice self-care to prevent burnout, stress, sleep disorders, and injuries.
Exercise, eating right, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep are some of the most challenging (and most important) self-care activities healthcare workers can do. Self-care for healthcare workers benefits not only yourself, but the patients for whom you provide care.
Self-Care for Mental Health Professionals
According to researchers Kirsten Posluns and Terry Lynn Gall of Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, self-care can reduce negative outcomes, improve judgment, and even prevent physical symptoms including muscle pain and headaches-even in practicing mental health professionals!
In this helpful video learn 30 simple self-care techniques you can do in 60 seconds or less.
What are the benefits of practicing self-care?
The benefits of practicing self-care include improved mental health, better blood pressure, mental peace, better coping skills, increased happiness, and better sleep just to name a few. Self-care can improve us physically, mentally, and spiritually.
What is a good self-care routine?
A good self-care routine is the one you create yourself and practice daily or regularly. It includes activities like replacing stressful activities with more relaxing ones, altering current activities to get you outside instead of in front of a screen, and anything that you enjoy and can make part of your routine.
Why is self-care important to men?
Self-care is important to men because they typically work in physically or mentally demanding jobs, and many also balance the needs of spouses and children as a solo income earner. Men are just beginning to focus more on self-care and mental health because times are challenging, and to be a supportive husband and father it’s important to take good care of himself.
Activities That Real People Do To Practice Self-Care
I asked friends and family to list 3 things they do to practice self-care. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll, and the percentages of their responses.
|Spend time outside
|Get a massage
|Take a bubble bath
|Get my hair done
|Read a book
|Learn something new
- Self Care – Activities and Benefits of Putting You First
- Self Love – Putting You First Feels Great and Helps Others
- What Is Self Care – How and Why You Deserve to be Happier
- Self Care Is For Everyone – Feeling Happy and Fulfilled
- Spiritual Self Care – Learn the Helpful Ways That Work
- Why Is Self Care Important – Nurturing Our Own Well Being
- Emotional Self Care – How Caring for Yourself Helps Others
- Protect Your Peace – Effective Strategies for Inner Calm
Life is hectic and busy, which makes it even that much more important to perform regular self-care. When we take the time to take care of ourselves, we provide a wonderful example to those around us. It’s ok to take a break, pamper ourselves, find joy, and do things we enjoy to restore our physical and emotional well-being. As long as we balance our demands with our self-care, we can continue to provide for others and still be at peace. How will you take care of yourself today?