What is Self-Care?
Some people consider self-care indulgent and selfish, but self-care is critical to your health. In fact, neglecting self-care can actually cost you, leading you to burnout. As Susan Noonan, M.D. writes at Psychology Today, self-care “is often one of the first things to go when you are overcome with emotional problems and mental illness…. But self-care behaviors are one of life’s basic necessities and not just superfluous luxury items, or the cherry on top.”
The myth of self-care being indulgent probably comes from our idea of pampering, which often means a costly trip to the spa or a shopping spree. In reality, effective self-care is far more basic than that. Psych Central defines self-care as activities that we intentionally do to care for our mental, emotional, and physical health. We should not feel forced or unhappy when pursuing self-care activities.
Basically, self-care is our way of taking care of our own needs so we can live out our lives in the happiest way possible.
The Benefits of Self-Care
What other benefits does self-care provide?
- This article from First Round states that healthy self-care habits give successful people the tools they need to be more productive, such as endurance.
- Proper self-care can improve your resistance to disease, according to this post from The Law of Attraction.
- It can also improve self-esteem and self-knowledge.
- By preventing burnout and overexertion, self-care allows you to give your best for the things that matter to you like your career, your loved ones, and your dreams.
Simple and Overlooked Habits for Self-Care
All of us can probably improve our self-care habits right now with a few simple changes. Here are some ideas that we often overlook:
While we frequently make time for work, exercise, chores, and socialization, we often neglect scheduling time for relaxation outside of sleep. An excellent way to relax is with meditation, which can help bring clarity and focus. Another great method of relaxation is by spending time in nature, especially if you are often cooped up in an office. Several studies show that just being exposed to the sights and sounds of nature can reduce anxiety and depression while improving self-esteem and mood.
Picking Up a Hobby
Hobbies provide quite a few positive benefits for people from all walks of life. If you’ve always wanted to explore a new hobby, now’s the time to do so. There’s an endless array of possibilities to check out, from learning how to paint to starting a collection of coins, old toys, or comic books.
One of the most beneficial hobbies you can pick up is learning a new instrument. Not only will an instrument help boost your ability to create new memories, but it can also build your coordination and increase your comprehension skills. If you want to start out with something simple, try your hand at a clarinet or a saxophone, both of which are great for beginners.
When faced with high-pressure or unpleasant situations, our bodies naturally react in ways that can be unhealthy. While fight-or-flight reactions are important when we face real danger, they are not helpful while at work or in dealing with loved ones.
How can you reduce anxiety in stressful situations? Taking three deep breaths is a simple and effective strategy that can help to preempt stress symptoms. Learn more “in the moment” techniques from Harvard Business Review.
The Importance of Smiling
Did you know that smiling and laughter can benefit you? According to Lifehack, these activities release endorphins, which make us feel happier and less stressed. Laughing also expands the lungs and stimulating homeostasis, which stabilizes your body. Spending time with loved ones who make you smile and reflecting on the joyful activities, events, and memories in your life can help you smile more.
Learning To Say ‘No’
If you feel obliged to say “yes” to everyone, you are likely overwhelmed and overworked. This can easily lead to burnout, fatigue, and a severe drop in productivity and put you at risk for illness. In fact, learning to say “no” will help you prioritize your time for the things that matter most to you. If you’re a people pleaser, learn how to say no more often.
Good Sleep Hygiene
It’s important to maintain good sleep hygiene, that is, healthy habits that allow you to get the best rest possible. SleepEducation.org suggests tips including getting seven hours of sleep per night, keeping consistent wake and sleep times, and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine.
Proper self-care helps us maintain a healthy body and mind, allowing us to be more productive, helpful, and balanced in life.
About The Author
This is my first time featuring a guest author like Brad Klause. He reached out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org . However, after being hacked, he is taking opportunity to rebrand and restructure his online presence. Therefore, let him know what you thought of his article in the comments or directly at email@example.com. Visit him at selfcaring.info.
Additionally, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a ‘Wellness Wednesday’ article you would like me to feature. In other words, I’m always looking to collab with and support my fellow bloggers!