Importance of Self Care

What is self-care? Self-care is a general term that describes everything you do deliberately for your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. As simple as it sounds, many of us pay little attention to self-care. This is why ‘deliberately' is one of the most important words in the definition. You need to be conscious of your well-being before you can achieve true self-care. It starts from the simple acts like not checking emails at night when you know it affects your sleep and extends to more important decisions like going for a vacation or booking a massage when you feel you need one.

In a society in which people are expected to work long hours and pass on vacation days, there is an underlying belief that we must always be productive – which can ultimately take away from opportunities for self-care. But by taking some time out to engage in self-care, you may relieve the pressures of everyday life and reset yourself to get back to a healthy point where productivity is once again maximized. 

Overworking yourself may result in adverse consequences, which may include but are not limited to burnout, depression, anxiety, resentment and a whole host of other negative implications. Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve concentration, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, improve energy, and more. From a physical health perspective, self-care has been clinically proven to reduce heart disease, stroke and cancer. Spiritually, it may help keep us in tune with our higher power as well as realize our meaning in life.

Perhaps the single most common reason people give for not participating in self-care is due to a lack of time. While many of us have a lot going on, it’s imperative that we take time out every day for ourselves, even if minimally. Another great thing about self-care is that it does not have to cost a thing. And you can even accomplish it in the convenience of your own home. These perks are especially beneficial during the current COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing regulations.

Remember that self-care is all about you. What works for one person may not work for another, but that’s the beauty of a self-care routine. The catch, though, is that it must be done both intentionally and consistently to have maximum impact. Even if you only have 5-minute increments spread throughout the day to engage in self-care, that is certainly better than nothing. Over time, you may significantly enhance your overall health and wellbeing. Even if you are just beginning, there are results that may be realized almost immediately.

For all of us, though, there is continued work to be done. Life is dynamic, and so are our dimensions of wellness. During challenging times, we may rely on our strong points to help carry us through. When too many dimensions are compromised, we may find ourselves struggling and find it difficult to handle things we easily could have in the past.

Each of our self-care plans will look different, but here are some suggestions to consider among each of the eight domains.

  • Emotional – Talk to someone, reflect, journal, read, do something artistic, listen to music, work out, take a walk, watch something that suits the mood (or does the opposite and changes it), cry it out, hug someone, cuddle, laugh, take a nap.
  • Environmental – Take a walk somewhere nice, breathe in fresh air, enjoy the sun, enjoy the night sky, avoid littering, pick up litter, reduce waste, use reusable products, recycle, clean your house, redesign a room.
  • Financial – Develop a practical financial plan, open a savings account, start saving, try saving even more if you are already saving, invest, cut back on unnecessary purchases, consider where you can cut corners, avoid credit cards, ask for a raise.
  • Intellectual – Read, listen to audiobooks, watch documentaries, complete puzzles, be mindful of the world around you, become curious, try something new, tap into your creative/artistic side, take a class, complete a program, graduate.
  • Occupational – Learn a trade, get your degree, train for a promotion, accept the promotion, put together your resume, polish your resume, apply for your dream job, take on a task you enjoy, open your own business.
  • Physical – Work out daily, take a walk, eat healthy, get your annual checkup, see the dentist, take medications as prescribed, avoid drugs and alcohol, get 7-9 hours of sleep, see the physician when you do not feel well.
  • Social – Meet up with friends and family, keep in contact with old friends, volunteer, go out, have fun, engage in healthy social media use, exude positivity, utilize technology when distance is a factor, have a big laugh.
  • Spiritual – Meditate, pray, reflect, engage in yoga, visit a meaningful site, do right by others, be mindful, consider your higher purpose and meaning, look to your higher power for support, love one another, help those in need.
Self-Care is personal, and no general principle will always work. What motivates you and inspires you is different than the person next door. Look for the things that make you feel alive. Make dates with yourself and when you commit to working out or doing something for yourself, keep the commitment you make to yourself. We don't back out on our friends, don't back out on yourself. By being healthy about self-care, you will feel be better equipped to help others. Go live your best life.

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