What Exactly Is Self-Care? Why Is It Beneficial to Your Long-Term Health?
What Is Self-Care?
In recent years, the term "self-care" has grown in popularity.
Simply put, self-care is any activity that you engage in with the intention of improving your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.
Self-care is not a frivolous or selfish act. It is a fundamental practice that contributes to your overall health and well-being.
Self-care can help you stay on top of your health and wellness game by making time to do things that will help you improve both your mental and physical health.
" Mental health practices can help you manage stress, reduce your risk of illness, and boost your energy levels. Even small acts of self-care can have a big impact on your overall well-being.
It’s not about being ‘selfish.’ Instead, it’s about being responsible and taking care of yourself.
Why is self-care so important for your health?
When people fail to look after their own health, their needs are frequently unmet. According to Dr. Palmer, this can lead to a decline in physical and/or mental health. "People can begin to develop health problems such as obesity, insulin resistance, burnout, or depression... People must be proactive in obtaining what they require for self-care and in informing others of what they require from them when appropriate."
According to Perlus, practicing a self-care routine can help eliminate anxiety, reduce stress, improve concentration, reduce frustration, increase happiness, and improve energy. "All of these factors contribute to your overall quality of life."
What are some different types of self-care?
There are many different types of self-care, including physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual self-care. Here are some examples of each:
1- Physical self-care:
Physical self-care involves taking care of your physical health and well-being. This includes activities such as:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a balanced and healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Going for a walk
- Taking a relaxing bath
- Getting a massage or a manicure/pedicure
2- Mental self-care:
- Practicing mindfulness or meditation
- Journaling or writing
- Reading a book
- Learning a new skill or hobby
- Watching a movie or TV show
- Listening to music or a podcast
3- Emotional self-care:
Emotional self-care involves taking care of your emotional health and well-being. This includes activities such as:
- Talking to a trusted friend or family member
- Seeing a therapist or counselor
- Practicing self-compassion and self-love
- Setting boundaries and saying no when necessary
- Doing something that makes you happy or brings you joy
4- Social self-care:
Social self-care involves taking care of your social health and well-being. This includes activities such as:
- Watch a fun movie with friends
- Call a parent
- Have dinner with your special someone
- Schedule a family game night
5- Spiritual self-care:
Spiritual self-care involves taking care of your spiritual health and well-being. This includes activities such as:
- Going to a place of worship
- Being in nature
What counts as self-care and what doesn’t?
Taking care of yourself to ensure your needs are met is an example of self-care, as is making reasonable requests of others.
Dr. Palmer explains that it is not about being self-centered, always putting your needs ahead of the needs of others, or expecting others to do everything you want them to do.
"It's a balancing act—making sure you have enough for yourself while also looking out for the people in your life and making sure they have what they need." This sometimes necessitates compromise or even sacrifice."
"For example," Dr. Palmer says, "many parents prioritize their children's needs over their own." However, he explains that when people begin to notice signs of mental or physical health problems, they may need to prioritize their own needs, at least for a while.
Dr. Palmer adds that optimizing your own health allows you to stay vibrant and productive, allowing you to contribute to society and serve others. "If you let yourself burn out, you will almost certainly not be the best parent, spouse, worker, or member of society that you could be."
How can you start a self-care routine?
Starting a self-care routine can be a great way to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The first step is to identify what self-care means to you.
It may involve activities such as exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature.
Once you have a general idea of what self-care looks like for you, it's important to set aside time in your schedule for these activities.
You might find it helpful to create a weekly or daily schedule that includes self-care time so that you can stick to your routine and make it a habit.
Another important aspect of starting a self-care routine is to make sure that you are taking care of your physical health.
This may involve things like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and staying hydrated. Regular exercise is also important for both physical and mental well-being, so try to find a type of exercise that you enjoy and that fits your lifestyle.
In addition to taking care of your physical health, it's also important to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being.
This may involve activities such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness exercises. You might also find it helpful to keep a journal or to practice gratitude, which can help to promote positive thinking and reduce stress.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a self-care routine that works for you and that you enjoy. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best, but once you establish a routine, you will likely find that you feel more relaxed, energized, and better able to cope with stress and challenges.
Remember to be kind to yourself and to prioritize self-care as an essential part of your overall health and well-being.
How can I ask for help with self-care?
Asking for help with self-care can be a challenging but important step in taking care of your well-being. Here are some suggestions for how to ask for help:
Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It's okay to need support and it's important to take care of yourself. By reaching out to others, you can build a strong support network and work towards achieving your goals for self-care.