Why Practicing Self-Care is Essential
Not giving yourself the love and affection you deserve? It might be time to think about some serious self-care, as practicing self-care is essential.
In 2015, over $10 billion was spent on self-care products. In 2018, more than 70% of millennial women made self-care their new year’s resolution. The same year, Apple rated “self-care” the best app trend of the year. While self-care might be the biggest buzzword to hit the mainstream health and wellness scene, there’s nothing new about it.
Thousands of years before the self-care industry boomed into a multi-billion dollar business, the ancient Greeks were immersed in their own self-care practices. Philautia, the Greek word for self-care, roughly translates to “love of self” or “self-love.” The ancients believed that when self-love was practiced, it offered what one needed to build love in all other areas of their life.
Sounds great to us.
What is self-care in our modern world, though, and why is it so important?
What is Self-Care?
We like to think of self-care as taking the best possible care of yourself, the same way you would for someone you care deeply about. It’s giving yourself what you need when you need it so you can live a physically, mentally and emotionally balanced life.
It doesn’t mean going on an online shopping spree because you think it will make you feel better, and it’s not drinking a bottle of wine every evening to help you relieve stress. Self-care isn’t about constantly indulging in the finer things in life, but instead creating a balanced lifestyle that supports your well-being.
Self-care shouldn’t be considered some one-time thing that you fit in when you find the time — it goes far beyond the soothing bubble bath or yoga class you manage to fit in once or twice a month. Self-care is consistently committing to those things that help you maintain overall wellness and to nurturing the positive habits that allow you to thrive.
While it might seem a bit trendy, there’s really nothing trendy about self-care at all. In our fast-paced, stressful, always-connected modern lifestyles, self-care is something we need.
Why is Self-Care So Important?
Neglecting our own needs can lead to some pretty negative consequences. Not honoring ourselves can easily lead to experiencing less joy. We might become bitter or increasingly anxious and find ourselves getting angry with others. We may constantly feel distracted and feel our focus is failing us. We might lash out on the ones we love and experience problems in the various relationships we have with others.
If you’re not feeling like the radiant, beautiful being you really are, it’s time to engage in some serious self-care. Some of the benefits of regular self-care include increased immunity and improved physical health, enhanced emotional well-being and self-esteem, improved focus and concentration, less burnout and better relationships with others.
We owe it to ourselves to engage in regular self-care. It all comes down to making simple changes to our daily lives so self-care becomes something we truly live, rather than make time for once in a while.
6 Essential Self-Care Tips That Can (Seriously) Change Your Life
The very first step in self-care is to acknowledge and honor yourself. There is absolutely nothing selfish about self-care. In fact, it’s fundamental for feeling your best and essential for your well-being and happiness. The time you take for you matters.
Following are a few ideas to help you give yourself the love you truly deserve.
1. Switch Up Your Morning Routine
The way we start our mornings has everything to do with how we experience the rest of the day. If you’re like most people, mornings are typically spent in a rush rather than engaging in some essential self-care. While you might be busy, it’s easier to find the time than you think.
Getting up just 20 minutes earlier and engaging in a mindful morning routine can be game-changing. Rather than rushing, create a morning routine that works with you. Sip slowly on your coffee or tea. Resist the urge to look at your inbox before you’ve even gotten out of bed. Stay off social media. Savor every minute of your shower. Love what you see when you look in the mirror. Sit in quiet contemplation for a few minutes and mentally plan out your day exactly as you’d like to see it unfold.
2. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
If you’re not getting the sleep you need, you’re not alone. Lack of sleep is so prominent it has been called a public health crisis. Getting a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be considered a luxury — it’s an essential aspect of self-care we often skip. It’s recommended that we get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Not getting near that? Make getting the sleep you need part of your regular self-care routine.
3. Learn to Say No
Think about how many things you’ve said yes to things that you didn’t really want to do. Maybe it was something as simple as staying an extra hour at the office or agreeing to drive six kids to soccer practice. Maybe it was something a bit more complex, like saying yes to someone you didn’t really want to marry or staying at a job you hated because of the money.
Remember, the first step in self-care is acknowledging and honoring yourself, and a big part of honoring yourself is learning to say “no” when you need to. If you don’t honor what you need, you’ll become bitter, angry or anxious. You may even become depressed because you’re not respecting your own needs and desires.
Learning to say no is an integral part of self-care. We know it’s difficult to feel like we’re letting down those we love or falling short of the expectations others might have for us, but creating boundaries for yourself ultimately enhances your ability to prioritize and face life’s challenges.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
When it comes to your diet, are you conscious of the foods you consume? Are you getting plenty of fresh greens and fruits? Drinking plenty of water? Or are you eating what’s convenient? While we understand that grabbing a bagel and cup of coffee on the way to work is super convenient, it’s not so suitable for self-care.
In order to thrive, we need to eat a diet rich in the nutrients we need. A big part of practicing self-care simply comes down to the foods we eat. You have a choice when it comes to what foods you choose. Your body is a temple — feeding it well is a simple way to engage in true self-care.
5. Keep Stress Levels in Check
Get this. According to a 2017 Gallup Poll, 79% of Americans feel stress sometimes or frequently throughout their day. That’s 8 out of 10 people. Experiencing emotional balance is a huge facet of self-care which, for many, means learning how to reduce daily stress.
While stress can make us feel like we’re barely managing to keep our heads above water, there are simple ways to manage stress. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, engaging in regular relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga, seeking social support, learning to manage your time and staying away from negative coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol and compulsive behaviors are all self-care tips that will help you keep stress levels in check.
6. Do More of What You Love
When was the last time you did something that set your soul on fire, something just for you and no one else? An essential part of self-care is embracing those things that make you feel alive. Whether it’s reading a good book, taking a cooking class, playing the piano or tending to the tomato garden, just do more of what you love.
Doing what you love is different for everyone, but essentially offers each individual the same things. When we embrace our passions and do what we love, we tend to have increased feelings of self-esteem and motivation. We feel less burnout from our everyday lives. We become passionate about our lives and experience increased overall well-being and happiness. When you do what you love, your love for life grows!
Self-care is different for everyone. It’s all about reflecting on your own needs and making the lifestyle changes necessary to enjoy optimal wellness and mental clarity.
While some parts of self-care include a bit of pampering from time to time, self-care really comes down to the things we do each day to help us avoid feeling burned out and overwhelmed. Self-care is where we seek the peace of mind that so many are missing and truly begin to thrive in each and every area of our lives.