Self-care is essential to living a healthy and happy life. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or pricey.
Self-care is an essential factor in maintaining and improving your overall well-being. Unfortunately, it can be hard to prioritize your well-being when you’re constantly juggling other responsibilities.
However, self-care should no longer be seen as a luxury reserved for those who can afford it but rather a necessary part of life for everyone.
If you don’t take time for yourself, then who will?
This blog post will explore the importance of self-care and provide some tips on how to take care of yourself so that you can enjoy a healthier, more productive life.
What is self-care?
Self-care is the act of improving or protecting your health and well-being. As such, it includes everything you do to look after yourself, including what you eat, how much you exercise, your interpersonal relationships etc.
Here’s a 90-Day and Night Reflection Journal for Self-care. This journal will help you reduce stress, cultivate positive thinking and find your path to a healthier lifestyle.
"Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others." - Bryant McGill
Reasons why self-care is important
Self-care is not just important when you’re feeling down or stressed out. In fact, it’s crucial to take care of yourself to maintain physical, spiritual and mental health and prevent diseases.
Specific benefits of self-care include reduced stress, improved memory, less depression symptoms, more creativity, lower blood pressure etc.
In fact, self care:
- Creates self-awareness
- Boosts self-efficiency
- Improves productivity
- Increases happiness
- Creates work/life balance
- Helps cope with difficult situations and navigate change
- Increases creativity
- Improves sleep
- Boosts confidence
- Builds mental strength and emotional intelligence
- Improves concentration
- Improves decision making
- Encourages self-expression
- Provides a sense of community
- Helps you be more prepared for social situations
- Increases authenticity
- Helps with spiritual growth
- Increases ability to set boundaries
- Increases empathy
- Helps you live in the present
"Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation." - Audre Lorde
1. Self-care creates self-awareness
Self-care is important because it makes you get in touch with who you truly are.
In fact, self-care will help you become aware of your needs, thoughts, feelings and desires.
This is because it is through self-care that we are able to be mindful about what’s going on within ourselves so that we can identify what’s important to us.
2. Self-care is empowering
Regularly engaging in activities that make us feel good about ourselves boosts our self-belief and confidence which in turn enables us to fight off negative thoughts and feelings.
Self-care is important for helping us recognize that we have a choice in how we respond to the challenging situations that life will inevitably throw at us.
3. Self-care boosts self-efficacy
By taking action to do something kind for yourself, you’re actively making a positive change in your life; even if it’s just for a short time.
This is important because this extra boost can give you the confidence to take similar action in other areas of your life, which may otherwise seem daunting or overwhelming.
4. Self-care improves productivity
Many of us are unable to effectively manage our time, which can lead to stress, burnout and feeling overwhelmed. When this happens, it’s easy to become very task-focused at the expense of our own needs.
As such, doing things that help restore balance in your life is important to help us concentrate on what’s important. And, this can make us more productive when we’re working because we have a greater capacity to focus.
Read also: The ultimate guide on personal productivity.
5. Self-care increases happiness
When we engage in self-care activities on a regular basis, it can help to release endorphins.
Endorphins are “feel good” hormones that elicit positive and happy emotions.
And, regularly experiencing these sorts of feelings is important for increasing our general mood and improve the quality of our life overall.
When we feel good about ourselves, it can naturally follow that we’re happier in life.
Research has also found that those who practice self-care tend to be more satisfied with their social relationships, career and overall quality of life.
6. Self-care creates a healthy work/life balance
It’s impossible to separate ourselves from our work – it’s a central part of our lives. And, although we might sometimes feel guilty for taking time out to do something that makes us feel good, self-care is important for us to strike a healthy balance.
In fact, self-care allows us to take necessary time away from the often stressful environment of employment.
"Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what's left of you." - Katie Reed
7. Self-care helps us cope and navigate change
Sometimes life can feel like it is throwing one challenge after another at you. When this happens, our ability to cope in the best way possible can become difficult.
But there’re lots of different ways in which you can practice self-care, making it an invaluable tool that can be used to help you get through times of struggle and change.
8. Self-care increases creativity
When we feel fully rested and energized, the chances are we’ll make better decisions and work harder as a result.
This is because when you’re feeling drained or overwhelmed, it’s often our creativity that suffers first.
But, persons who practice self-care are more likely to experience creative insight, have a heightened sense of awareness and feel more in tune with their emotions.
9. Self-care helps us to get more sleep
Undeniably, self-care is important for improving both the quantity and quality of sleep.
When we’re stressed, it’s common for our thoughts to race and for our minds not to be able to settle. As a result, the quality of the sleep that we get is often affected.
Taking some time out for self-care can help you wind down and prepare your body for a good night’s sleep.
10. Self-care helps us feel better in our own skin
Sometimes we feel like we’re in a rat race and our lives are spinning out of control. Even unconsciously, we can start to compare ourselves with other people; leaving us feeling unworthy, unvalued and empty.
Taking some time each day to do something that makes us feel good about ourselves is important for keeping these feelings at bay and reminding us to appreciate who we are and what we do.
11. Self-care builds mental strength and emotional intelligence
Building mental strength and emotional intelligence is another reason why self-care is important.
Although it’s often popular to focus on physical strength as a symbol of power, the truth is that mental resilience and emotional intelligence are just as important.
A regular practice of self-care enables us to strengthen both our mind and emotions giving us an edge over others who neglect these areas.
"Take the time today to love yourself. You deserve it." - Avina Celeste
12. Self-care improves concentration levels
One of the main effects of stress is that it can lead to increased levels of anxiety. Being anxious often causes our concentration to diminish, which can directly affect everything else that we do.
If this goes on for too long, it can start to affect us personally and professionally – making it harder for us to complete tasks and prevent us from taking on new challenges.
Practicing self-care is important for reducing these anxiety levels and improving our ability to focus.
13. Self-care helps us make healthier decisions
Neglecting our own needs can lead to other areas of our life catching up with us. In fact, when we’re not sleeping well or feeling unhappy, it’s difficult to make healthy choices and stick to them.
Thus, taking the time out to care for ourselves enables us to make better decisions and is important for effectively communicating these choices to others.
14. Self-care encourages self-expression
One of the biggest barriers that people face when it comes to making a change in their life is being unable to confront their own feelings.
But when we get into the habit of regularly taking time out for self-care, we give ourselves the opportunity to make changes in our life by being more open and aware of how we feel.
15. Self-care provides us with a sense of community
For some people, the idea of “self-care” can seem selfish or indulgent because they believe that it’s just about doing things for yourself regardless of how it may affect others.
But, the truth is that looking after ourselves enables us to form stronger relationships with those around us.
As a result, we feel more connected and supported by others which can be transformative for both our own life and the lives of those we care about.
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." - Unknown
16. Self-care boosts preparation for social situations
The way in which we interact with other people is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves.
When we regularly engage in self-care activities, it can help us to feel more confident which makes it easier for us to be socially savvy.
In fact, when we’re happy with how we look and feel, other people will also pick up on this positive energy making socializing a far more enjoyable experience.
17. Self-care helps us to feel more authentic
Regularly engaging in self-care activities is important for cultivating a sense of authenticity where we’re able to express ourselves fully without feeling like we’re acting.
Feeling “authentic” is important for many reasons such as helping us form genuine connections with those around us and boosting our self-confidence.
18. Helps us with spiritual growth
While some people might not think of spirituality as being connected to self-care, there are many ways in which these two areas overlap.
Actually, self-care is important because it helps us explore our spiritual side and gain a deeper sense of clarity about our place in the world and how we want to move forward.
This is especially true if we’re more inclined towards introspection – when we look for answers that lie within.
19. Increases our ability to set boundaries
Failure to care of ourselves properly makes it all too easy to find ourselves putting other people’s needs ahead of our own.
This means that we’re unable to set boundaries with those people. Unfortunately, this can be hugely detrimental to our well-being.
But, engaging in self-care on a regular basis allows us to establish healthy boundaries and prioritize our emotional and physical needs.
20. Self-care increases empathy and compassion
When we’re struggling to look after ourselves properly, it can be all too easy for us to lose focus of how other people might feel.
But, regularly engaging in self-care activities is important for providing more opportunity for empathy, kindness and compassion.
"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including YOU." - Anne Lamott
21. Helps you live in the present moment
Regularly engaging in self-care activities allows us to live more in the present moment.
This is because when we stop focusing all of our energy on worrying about the future or feeling guilty about the past, it’s easier for us to be less stressed.
Now, that you are aware of all of the amazing benefits of self-care, let’s discover the best tips to help you make self-care a priority.
Tips for prioritizing self-care
In order for you to have a clearer idea of what self-care means for you, it is most effective to identify your individual needs.
Here are some strategies to help you prioritize self-care:
- Identify your stressors.
- Have realistic expectations.
- Write down your goals.
- Set a schedule.
- Determine the task duration.
- Develop a support system.
- Change your mindset.
Read also: How to create a personal wellness plan.
1) Identify stressors to prioritize self-care
The first step of prioritizing self-care is identifying all of your current stressors.
Of course, there will be times when you have to deal with stressors that are beyond your control. But, there may be numerous things, persons or habits in your life that are causing avoidable stress.
2) Have realistic expectations to prioritize self-care
Once you’ve identified all of your current stressors, the next step for prioritizing self-care is identifying what is realistically achievable for you.
It’s definitely positive to set high goals for yourself. But, setting goals that are too difficult to achieve can be frustrating and demotivating.
"Self-care is how you take your power back." - Lalah Delia
3) Writing down your goals to prioritize self-care
Next, try writing down all of the things that would make you feel self-assured and content with your life. In fact, writing down your goals will increase your chances of actually going through with them.
As an example, you might want to feel more energized, relaxed or positive. You can then use these as a basis for prioritizing the self-care strategies that will make the most difference for you.
Here’s some self-care ideas to choose from:
|Physical Selfcare||Spiritual Selfcare||Emotional Selfcare|
|Eat a healthier Diet||Start meditation/ mindfulness||Practice self Love|
|Exercise for 30 minutes||Work on forgiveness||Improve self confidence|
|Sleep for 7-9 hours daily||Be true to yourself||Read more|
|Increase water consumption||Use music as therapy||Start journaling|
|Prioritize skin care||Consider volunteering||Have some alone-Time|
|Start a bath ritual||Start regular self-reflection||Have a plan|
|Get regular check-ups||Stop being overly depend on others||Laugh more|
|Practice kindness with intention||Prioritize relaxation|
|Develop an attitude of gratitude||Escape technology|
|Join a religious community||Choose healthy hobbies|
|Spend time in nature||Feed your friendships|
|Be a positive thinker||Consider psychotherapy|
4) Set a schedule to prioritize self-care
A great way of starting to prioritize self-care is by setting a schedule.
Putting the schedule together is not difficult. Just follow these steps:
- Identify your most pressing need (for example, feeling energized).
- Set a realistic timeframe for when you’d like to achieve this (for example, within five days).
- List all of the things that will help you meet this goal (for example, getting plenty of sleep, eating nutritious food and exercising).
- Prioritize these self-care strategies (for example, exercise might be more important than getting enough sleep).
- Consider the most realistic time to complete the task.
5) Determine task duration to prioritize self-care
While prioritizing your self-care strategies, it’s imperative to note how long each task should take.
Once you have an understanding of how much time each self-care strategy should take, you can arrange them in order of importance.
It’s also important to consider the best time of the day to complete those tasks given your current schedule and obligations.
6) Find a support system to prioritize self-care
Once you’ve developed a self-care routine, you should find a support system that will help keep you motivated.
By finding a support system, you’re setting yourself up for success because it’s easier to keep going when you know that there are people who will be there to cheer you on and hold you accountable.
7) Change your mindset to prioritize self-care
Finally, prioritizing self-care is an ongoing process. You will have days when you’ll feel as though everything is working in your favor
While on other days it might seem as though nothing is going the way you had hoped. Remember, that self-care is a journey and despite challenges, it’s important to stay committed.
Final words on the benefits of self-care
From taking care of yourself by practicing mindfulness meditation or getting enough sleep at night to treating yourself with small indulgences such as reading the latest best seller novel on vacation, the importance of self-care can not be overstated.
The best part is, self-care activities are often free or inexpensive. So, take some time out from work or personal obligations to prioritize self-care
How have you been prioritizing yourself lately? Let me know in the comments below.
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Levin, L & Idler, E (1983) Self-care in Health. Ann. Rev. Public Health. 1983. 4:181-201