Throughout my journey of self-love, I’ve learned how important it is to prioritize self-care. In a world of fast-paced lifestyles and packed schedules, taking time for oneself is vital to not just surviving but thriving.
Self-care can be defined most simply as allotting time to take care of oneself – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Self-care enables one to slow down, recharge, and get back in the game of life ready to give it their all. When I skip self-care, I’m more easily fatigued, irritable, and negative.
There are so many positive impacts of self-care that make this practice vital to living the most vibrant life possible. Let’s discover what self-care looks like, the benefits as well as the importance of self-care, and how to practice self-care.
What is Self Care?
Self-care is carving out the time and making it a priority to tend to one’s mind, body, and soul, like tending a garden. Self-care is an umbrella term for everything, and anything related to caring for oneself: getting a massage, spending time in nature, going to counseling – all those activities vary, but are considered forms of self-care. There are two main forms of self-care: physical and mental.
Self-care in its physical form focuses on relaxing and caring for the senses. Physical self-care enables the body to let go of the stress it’s been holding onto as well as process emotions and expel them in a healthy way. Some ways to practice physical self-care include:
- Getting a massage, facial, hair or nails done
- Soaking in a bath or hot tub.
- Physical movement: dancing, yoga, hiking, weightlifting. (It also serves as a mental form of self-care as one experiences the mind-body connection, and an increase in endorphins.)
- Earthing – sitting outside with your bare feet in the grass or dirt, feeling grounded and connected to the earth (This also serves as a mental form of self-care.)
- Eating healthy, nourishing, whole foods
- Going to bed early, taking a nap, or rising early in the morning
- Watching a favorite TV show, movie, listening to music or reading a book – stimuli that produces feelings of calm, not over-activating the brain
There are so many positive impacts of self-care that make this practice vital to living the most vibrant life possible.
- Talking with a friend or counselor
- Spending time in nature
- Meditation, prayer, and breathwork
- Decluttering and organizing a space
- Creative expression – making art, crafts, writing, cooking, singing, etc.
- Planning ahead – meal prepping, crafting to-do lists, etc.
What are the Benefits of Self Care?
Now that we’ve gone over the different types of self-care, let’s dive into the benefits. While it may seem counterproductive to press pause on your life and take time just for yourself, it’s actually the best thing you can do for yourself. Self-care has a host of benefits that will increase the quality of life, ranging from higher energy levels to a clearer and more positive mindset.
It Refuels You
By taking time for yourself, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to recharge. Like cars and fuel, we can’t be running on empty all the time. Whether it be our souls or our bodies, we will eventually crash. Taking the time to pour into yourself will give you the energy to pour out to others. If we constantly run down by stress and stimuli, we are unable to meet the needs of those around us. Spending time on yourself helps you avoid burnout.
It Helps You Mentally
It’s evident that intentionally working on your well-being prevents you from burning out, but it also has a host of other benefits. Self-care helps manage stress and anxiety. It creates more positive thought patterns and develops a sense of gratitude. It also improves one’s sleep, mental clarity, focus, and energy levels.
It Helps You Physically
The same goes for the body. Self-care gives the body a reprieve from the stress of life, recharging it with rest and movement. The body holds onto the intense emotions humans experience, and if there is no break from constant stress, it can lead to a host of health issues down the line. By engaging in self-care, you are not only preventing harmful health conditions from manifesting, but you’re also sustaining your physical well-being.
It Produces a Deeper Relationship with Self
When self-care is utilized, it opens the door to a deeper understanding of oneself. I always come out of a self-care session feeling like I’ve leveled up within myself. Spending the time to get to know yourself enables you to become a better person. You’ll feel more sufficient, more positive, and more empowered after giving yourself the love you need. You’ll trust yourself more to make the right choices for yourself, building confidence and increasing self-esteem.
It Creates a Space of Gratitude
By allowing yourself the time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, you get to see just how blessed your life really is. Yes, there will always be struggle, there will always be a to-do list, but taking the time to care for yourself opens your eyes to what you have.
As you thank yourself for taking the time for yourself, and as you do it more often, you learn to appreciate the intricate details of world that is rushing by. The taste of homemade cake, the peace that comes from spending time in your spirituality, or the support from a friend all make you realize how beautiful this life is when it’s not spent rushing around doing errands or going to social events.
It Forces You to Slow Down
There’s no doubt that this life is busy. There’s a never-ending list of chores to accomplish, errands to run, and people to see. It’s no wonder that finding time for self-care is more difficult and yet more imperative than ever. Self-care is a mindful practice that can’t be done quickly. In fact, the point of self-care is to take the time needed to meet your own needs.
By slowing down you’re able to assess what is and isn’t working in your life. You’re able to take a deep breath and look at problems with a refreshed mind and fresh perspective. In a world that’s shouting hustle culture is the only way to happiness and success, it feels almost heretical to move at a slower pace, even when its in our best interest. But self-care creates a space to slow down, and it is here where we can not only enjoy more of life but enjoy ourselves.
Self-care has a host of benefits that will increase the quality of life, ranging from higher energy levels to a clearer and more positive mindset.
Self Care and Stress
There’s no doubt about it: the world we live in today is stressful. Between the effects of the pandemic, inflation, and heart-breaking events like natural disasters and warring countries, stress levels are higher now than ever before. Self-care directly combats the constant barrage of stress, overwhelm, and fatigue because it helps you maintain your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
A study published in BMC Medical Education by Erin Ayala, Jeffrey S. Winseman, Ryan D. Johnsen & Hyacinth R. C. Mason, explores how U.S. medical students who engage in self-care report less stress and higher quality of life.
What are Some Ways to Practice Self Care?
There are so many ways to incorporate this practice into your life. It could be as simple as taking a walk during your lunch break, sitting in the grass, and doing some breathwork. Or it could be a standing appointment on a certain day of the week that you dedicate entirely to yourself.
Take a bath, read a good book, talk to your counselor or a friend, catch up on chores, and do some journaling. End the day with stretching, prayer/meditation. How you practice self-care will look unique to you, your lifestyle, and your responsibilities, but try different things out and see how they work for you.
How to Practice Self-Care
If you’re a person who is used to the constant hustle and grind of life, if your schedule is booked out weeks in advance, and if you’re usually running on a few hours of sleep, don’t worry. With a little bit of planning, some discipline, and above all else, loving yourself, you’ll be able to allow time in your routine for self-care.
1. Be Honest with Oneself – The first step is to get honest with oneself and look at your schedule. What are you currently making a priority? Where do you spend the most time? The least amount of time? Using a calendar or spreadsheet, determine where your time and energy is going. Even if every day is packed with meetings, errands, driving the kids to dance, and social events, chances are there will be an area that could instead be used for self-care.
2. Check In with Yourself – Next check in with yourself to determine which form of self-care is the most important. Maybe your body is super run down or perhaps you’re mentally exhausted. Ask yourself what you need, then brainstorm some ideas as to how to meet those needs using the lists mentioned above.
3. Make the Time – The next step is to make the time to participate in self-care. This will look different for everyone. Maybe you’re able to move some things around in your schedule so you can go on an early morning walk once a week. Maybe you get your spouse to take the kids out for movie night once a month, so you can have a night in by yourself.
What’s important is that you actually follow through. Don’t let yourself off the hook by saying yes to another engagement and telling yourself it can wait. Your well-being is just as important – if not more so – than everything else going on in your life. You are important and worth taking the time to care for yourself.
4. Do it! 🙂 – Finally, the do thing! When the time comes around for your self-care, embrace it. Relax and enjoy the sweet peace that comes from loving on yourself. Thank yourself for taking the time to do this thing for you, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
5. Check in with Yourself Again – Afterwards, check in with yourself again. Do you have more energy to be a parent to a rambunctious group of kids? Did you relax more into the flow of rush hour traffic to work, instead of honking and raging at the other drivers? Did you wake up feeling generally more optimistic and gracious? Write those things down! Remember them, so that the next time you start feeling the stress or fatigue or anxiety creep back into your life, you know to go back to self-care.
6. Make Self-Care a Priority – Commit to making self-care a priority. As you go forward in your life and start doing self-care, try to allow for more self-care time in your schedule. Do the best you can, and the more you reap the positive benefits, the more likely you’ll be to make it more of a priority in your life.
Why is Self Care Important?
Self-care is the key to becoming the best version of yourself and living out your most vibrant life. No matter your lifestyle, background, or beliefs, self-care is for anyone and everyone. Practicing self-care improves mood, increases energy levels, and directly combats mental health issues. Self-care is the gateway to living in more gratitude, and being able to pour from a fuller cup. It enables us to support those around us, and gives life higher quality.
Why is Self Care Important for Adults?
As aforementioned, these are stressful times, especially so as an adult. Nearly all adults have responsibility – whether it be financially, or for other people. Being mindful of one’s needs and meeting them through self-care allows for adults to better care for their spouses, children, and parents.
The benefits of self-care can even have an impact on their coworkers, bosses, and strangers they encounter in their day-to-day lives. The improved mood will cause more understanding, more grace, and more kindness onto others, spreading the message of love and positivity in a stressful world.
Why is Self Care Important for Students?
It’s not easy to be a student. Education has started to look different these past couple of years due to the pandemic, and with that, an increase in mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Whether a student is experiencing an overwhelming workload, or the impact of being isolated for months, self-care can improve their lives.
Spending the time tending to their needs will improve their ability to handle the intense workload, increase their brain energy, function, levels of concentration, as well as directly combat depression and anxiety. Self-care will enable students to excel at their education by giving them the energy, focus, and drive that is being demanded of them.
Why is Self Care Important for Professionals?
The same goes for professionals. Hustle culture is especially prevalent in today’s workplace. In general, a week or two of vacation a year is standard, while big life events such as having a baby or a death in the family get little more, depending on the situation. The idea that work is priority drives many people today, which eventually leads to burnout if one doesn’t take the time for self-care.
Self-care can translate to setting boundaries at the job, whether that’s choosing to not answer emails after 6pm or enjoying the paid holidays instead of working them. Self-care enables professionals to return to their jobs with a clear mind, lowered stress levels, and the capacity to handle bigger projects.
Why is Self Care Important for Nurses?
The healthcare workers have become heroes during the pandemic, as their workload increased drastically, and has yet to see a true decline. Self-care is vital for our frontline workers more than ever.
They are constantly putting aside their own needs to meet the needs of others – working extremely long hours, putting themselves physically at risk by coming into contact with those who are ill, and doing everything in their power to save lives. Self-care would empower frontline workers by fueling their mental, physical, and emotional tanks so they can meet the demands of their job.
In this helpful video, learn how to make an action plan for using self-care to make your life more awesome.
Why is self-care important during the pandemic?
The pandemic has impacted every area of our lives – our health, our finances, our schedules, and even our general well-being. One of the positives that has come from the pandemic is the rediscovery, as well as the emphasis people have put on self-care.
The pandemic has been a trying time full of struggle and uncertainty, and it’s more important than ever to ensure that you are checking in with yourself and taking care of yourself on a regular basis.
Keeping your outlook positive, raising your energy levels – both mentally and physically, and giving you the strength to support others are just a few side effects of self-care. Taking time for yourself will enable you to navigate the precarious state of the world with ease and calm.
What are 5 benefits of self care?
Self-care refuels you, it helps you mentally, it helps you physically, it helps alleviate stress, it enables you to slow down. Keeping these in mind, and working towards incorporating them into a positive lifestyle can be quite fulfilling and enjoyable.
How can self-care improve your life?
Self-care can improve your life in many ways. Physically, you’re able to slow down, give your body the rest and love it needs, refueling it so it doesn’t crash. The same goes for your mind. Mentally, self-care empowers you, refuels you, and helps you get to a place of gratitude. Emotionally, you’ll find that you’re generally more hopeful and optimistic, your energy levels are higher, and you’ll have a greater capacity to deal with problems that life throws at you.
How Often Real People Perform Self-Care
The importance of self-care is growing in today’s society. I was curious about how often people truly perform self care for themselves, so I conducted a poll via social media. Here is what they shared and what I learned:
|Frequency of Self-Care Practice||Proportion of Respondents|
Of those who said they rarely take time for themselves, 92% said they wanted to make it more of a priority. When asked what self-care means to them, 88% of people agreed that both physical and mental health are important.
Of those who practice self-care on a regular basis, people say that they feel refueled, their stress levels are lower, and they are eating better. They find their lives more manageable, their energy higher, and their emotions more positive. The overall consensus is that self-care fills up their soul, which in turn increases their capacity to pour into others.
- 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
- Emotional Self Care – How Caring for Yourself Helps Others
- Self Care Tips – My Methods for Happier and Simpler Living
Self-care is a beneficial practice that everyone should incorporate into their lives. It gives one the time to check in with themselves, meet their own needs, and give them a break from the demands of life. It increases self-awareness, gratitude, and compassion for others. Self-care is the fuel our souls need to endure this stressful, crazy world, and practicing self-care is not only good for you, but it also supports and impacts everyone around you. Self-care is a tool that is imperative to a healthy state – both physically and mentally.