Self-care is a broad term that encompasses just about anything you do to keep yourself healthy – physically, mentally and spiritually. I believe self-care should be integrated in your life in a way that helps you understand when you’re feeling low and when you should take a step back to replenish your needs before you burnout. Self-care may sound like common sense, yet it’s often the first thing that’s forgotten when we find ourselves in a challenging or stressful situation.
In a society where people are expected to work long hours and stay productive, it’s tough to take time for yourself. To me acts of self-care can be as simple as not responding to emails after a certain time, going for a walk, or taking a bath. Alternatively, self-care can be as extreme as going sky-diving or taking a spontaneous trip by yourself. We all have to remember that self-care is subjective and is a different experience and feel for everyone. One of the toughest things you might find on your self-care journey is trying to figure out what your self-care looks like. What makes you feel passionate and inspired?
I think over the years there have been some misconceptions that self-care is synonymous with self-indulgence and selfishness. But if there’s one positive thing that came out of this global pandemic, it’s probably the increased awareness of the importance of self-care due to the rising of depression, fear, and anxiety. "Awareness" being the operative word – just because we're aware of something doesn't mean were necessarily taking the steps towards improving. Here is a very short list of self-care benefits that I thought were pretty crucial and backed up by research, a.k.a not just me talking out of my a**:
Better Physical Health – Self-care correlates to less stress and a stronger immune system which can ultimately increase your internal and external physical abilities. When you implement physical activity to your daily routine there are multitudes of benefits associated with regular exercise, even a walk in the park. As a personal trainer and someone who keeps active, I know for me and a lot of other people, we tend to use exercising as a stress reliever and mood booster. To say the least, Fersk’s stress-relief rollers can’t compete with the benefits of physical activity.
Increased Productivity – When you learn how to say “no” to the things you don’t necessarily feel like doing or feel pressured to do, and you start to make time for the things that actually matter, it’s amazing how quickly you realize what is of actual importance to you. I can attest to the fact that as soon as I let go of the b.s. of FOMO (fear of missing out), my life did a full 360. I went from being a party girl who was out till 3 a.m. because that’s what all my friends were doing, to a 23-year old who has a bed time of 9 p.m. and genuinely loving every minute of it.
Enhanced Self-Esteem – When you regularly set time for yourself and meeting your own needs, you send a positive message to your subconscious. I’m a huge believer in the law of attraction – a philosophy suggesting that positive thoughts bring positive results into a person’s life, while negative thoughts bring negative outcomes. The simple ways I incorporate this into my life include: writing in a gratitude journal every morning, visualizing my goals, and positive affirmations whenever I need it. Also, I recently started a vision board and can’t wait till that’s complete. If you’ve never heard of a vision board before, I’d highly recommend looking into it as a little self-care project. Marianna Hewitt has an awesome podcast on goal setting and how to make a vision board!
When you think about it, there are endless benefits to taking care of yourself. The saying: “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is simple yet so substantial and accurate. As corny as this may sound, in order to be our best and truest selves we must take care our own needs first – and that’s the last thing from selfish.