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 burn out. Self-care may sound like common sense, yet it’s often the importance of self-care if often 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 skydiving 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? And what's the true importance of self-care?
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 the 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 we're 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 into your daily routine there are multitudes of benefits associated with regular exercise; even a walk in the park can go a long way. As a personal trainer and someone who keeps active, I know myself, and a lot of other people, tend to use exercise 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.
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 actually important to you. I can attest to the fact that as soon as I let go of the BS of FOMO (fear of missing out), my life flipped a full 360. I went from being a party girl who was out till 3:00 a.m. because that’s what all my friends were doing, to a 23-year-old who has a bedtime of 9:00 p.m. and genuinely loves every minute of it.
When you regularly set time for yourself and meet 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
- Saying positive affirmations whenever I need it
- Starting a vision board
If you’ve never heard of a vision board before, I 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 is an endless amount of importance of self-care. 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 of our own needs first – and that’s the last thing from selfishness.