You’ve probably heard the term ‘self-care’ too many times to count and also become aware of its importance. The concept of self-care is very popular today and many businesses are utilizing it in their marketing campaigns, with some of them even taking a health-oriented approach when defining the term.
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides a more technical and comprehensive definition of self-care.
According to them, self-care is the ability of the community, families, and individuals to promote health, maintain health, prevent diseases, and cope with disability and illness even without the support of a health care provider.
Although self-care may be defined in different ways, given this premise, self-care is primarily about how people take care of their physical, emotional, and mental health, among others.
As simple as it sounds, you may end up asking yourself these questions: How do you know if you’re prioritizing self-care? Are maintaining good hygiene, getting proper nutrition, following a healthy diet, and doing regular exercise enough to say that you’re taking care of yourself well?
You’re probably aware of the importance of your well-being and that self-care is one way to achieve the best version of yourself. But apart from that, what are the fundamental reasons self-care needs to be your priority? Read on below:
- Self-Care Helps Maintain Positive Mental Health
A lot of people don’t understand that looking after their mental health is a form of self-care—more importantly during this pandemic.
The significance of mental awareness and wellness has become even more apparent because of the COVID-19 crisis, which has affected every aspect of people’s lives.
Facing the challenges brought by the pandemic has been overwhelming and stressful, triggering strong emotions in children and adults alike.
The loss of income or jobs, the sudden disruption of routines, and the new norms of self-isolating and social distancing have also put many at risk of anxiety and depression.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), depression is a common yet serious mood disorder. It impacts how one person thinks, feels, and manages daily activities such as eating, sleeping, studying, working, and decision-making.
The reason for this is that depression is associated with the dysfunction of the frontal lobes, which are responsible for different functions like thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, etc.
A lot of people suffering from various mental illnesses find it difficult to look after themselves.
The feeling of restlessness, despair and corrosive thoughts can push them into a tug of war for survival—whether to dwell on their depression or survive pretending everything’s okay.
Self-care with respect to attaining positive mental health only means that giving time to your wellness provides your mind some space to breathe, allowing it to experience mental relaxation. If you feel that stress is slowly eating you alive, here are some simple, healthy ways to cope with stress:
- Do a light workout.
- Eat a healthy and balanced meal.
- Stretch, meditate, or do some breathing exercises.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Give time to your hobbies.
- Connect with loved ones—even virtual communication would work.
You may have a different way of taking care of your mental health, like reading your favorite books, baking, cooking, gardening, and watching movies.
There’s no wrong way to do it, as long as your activity or method of choice allows you to ease your mind and make you feel better afterward.
- Self-Care Improves Physical Health
Everyone knows that a balanced diet and regular exercise can improve one’s physical health, which is important because you can’t go about your day-to-day tasks if you get sick often.
Being physically healthy doesn’t only enhance the quality of your life but also improves your relationship with others.
However, apart from diet and exercise, getting enough sleep, updating your immunizations, and even wearing a face mask to protect yourself can be considered self-care as well.
Here are more reasons why you need to prioritize your physical health through self-care:
- Having more energy can help you focus and accomplish your goals.
- Having a physically fit body improves your self-esteem.
- Being physically healthy helps eliminate or reduce health risks—cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and more.
- Living healthily may extend your lifespan.
Your physical well-being may impact your mental well-being too. Moreover, unresolved emotional stress can trigger physical symptoms like headache, stomach pain, high blood pressure, muscle tension, and more.
It can’t be that you’re physically healthy yet emotionally battered and vice versa. Changing your lifestyle and habits for the better may help improve your energy levels, mood, and mental state, all of which may also add years to your life.
- Self-Care Boosts Self-Esteem
Caring for yourself may help boost your self-esteem and independence; you get to stay happy and contented without depending on others to take care of you. Self-care has something to do with self-esteem as it’s associated with assessing your self-worth.
For instance, if you think low of yourself, then you’ll ignite the flame of insecurity within you.
On the other hand, if you take care of yourself by living a healthy lifestyle and doing positive and powerful self-talk, you’ll be able to counter negative emotions and promote a sound mind.
Here are some ways to take care of yourself, and ultimately, your self-esteem:
- Take pride in the things you do in your life—whether you’re studying, working, or taking care of your family.
- Make physical activity or exercise a part of your regular routine.
- Follow a healthy nutrition plan like consuming more nutritious food such as fruits, vegetables, lean meat, etc. than junk food.
- Pamper yourself with a haircut, a body massage, aromatherapy, etc.
- Set realistic life goals and give yourself a small reward every time you achieve one.
- Practice mindfulness through meditation or mind exercises.
- Stop, or at least, try to control your overthinking; it only leads to disappointment, stress, anxiety, etc.
People with high self-esteem value and take care of themselves. They know their worth, and they know how to walk away from anything that would make them think less of themselves.
Caring for others is okay, as long as you don’t neglect prioritizing self-care. Not that you’re being self-absorbed, it’s just how you remind yourself of your worth.
- Self-Care Improves Relationships
Self-care is essential to maintain your good relationship with yourself, family, friends, colleagues, partner, and your inner circle. You can’t give what you don’t have.
It may sound like a cliché, but you may find it challenging, if not difficult, to handle a relationship if you’re mean to yourself or if you lack self-care.
Here’s how you can practice self-care within the context of a relationship:
- Have some ‘me time’ and take your time away from others once in a while.
- Be honest with yourself and how you feel toward others.
- Set some boundaries and learn how to say ‘no.’
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Stay away from or learn how to deal with toxic people.
- Take full responsibility for your well-being and happiness.
- Learn from hurtful past relationships.
Unless you take care of yourself, you may be unable to look after other people and maintain strong relationships with them.
Self-care is important regardless of your relationship status. You and the people you care about should practice self-care since a healthy relationship requires healthy people.
At the end of the day, what matters is that you keep your physical, mental, and emotional health intact.
- Self-Care Helps Change Your Mindset
Is your glass half-full or half-empty? This is a reflective question about your attitude toward yourself and how you look at what happens in your life—in other words, your mindset.
Your mindset is a collection of your beliefs, principles, thoughts, etc. You may also have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
People with a growth mindset believe in their ability to develop and strengthen themselves through hard work and commitment. Meanwhile, individuals with a fixed mindset believe that the qualities they have are inborn or fixed and therefore can’t be changed.
Self-care helps improve how you perceive yourself and see things around you. If you want to enjoy life, understand that life is never meant to be rushed.
And before jumping into things, make sure you take your time to consider whether they’re good or bad for you. It’ll help you come up with great decisions in life.
Try not to be a cynic, but rather, have faith in humanity too. Anywhere you may be in life today, believe that you’ll always figure things and find a way out. If you have a sound mindset, you can attract positivity and you’ll shed light to the people surrounding you.
Here are some self-care tips that may help you have a good mindset every day:
- Accept the things you can’t change.
- Pay attention to the ‘now’ and live in the moment but don’t fail to prepare for tomorrow.
- Give yourself time to recharge and enjoy doing what you love.
- Meditate and reflect on your day.
- Do a morning workout.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
Building up your self-care mindset is all about patience and consistency. You can’t rush things overnight. So be patient with yourself as you establish new routines to achieve total wellness.
Be kind to yourself. This means acknowledging the ups and downs, the good and bad, the happy and sad, and the roller coaster ride of life. There’s nothing wrong with dedicating your time to self-care. It’s okay not to be okay, but you must never neglect yourself.
Don’t feel guilty when you need to prioritize yourself especially if you think there’s already too much on your plate. Work out, eat right, treat yourself, and discover what matters to you.
Get off social media, stay away from toxic people, and have a good night sleep. There’s always a borderline between selfishness and self-care.
Selfishness is when you think that the world is revolving around you, while self-care acknowledges that you’re a part of it. This means giving yourself the proper care, attention, time, energy, and compassion you deserve.