What is self-care?
Self-care has become a bit of a buzzword these days that we hear on TV, in social media, etc. but what does it really mean? The Oxford Dictionary defines “self-care” this way:
| The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.
| 1.1 The practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
Why is it so important?
In a 2017 study, it was found that 72 percent of millennial women were setting new goals for themselves. They were less concerned about only physical health and money and beginning to prioritize self-care and mental health.
Decreased stigmas surrounding mental health have allowed a new wave of self-care advocacy. We now understand that nothing is “just in our minds.” There is a very real connection between the mind and body. Habitually caring for one’s whole self is a commitment but it is not difficult to fit it in once you realize how awesome it feels.
It has become increasingly clear that self-care is linked to better health outcomes across the board. Self-care is a decision to prioritize your own well-being. This, in and of itself, is enough to boost your mood and increase confidence. Not to sound alarmist but chronic stress can, quite literally, kill you over time. If stress is allowed to run rampant through your body, your immune system will weaken and your overall health will diminish.
How can self-care be worked into everyday life
1. Take a bath or go for a swim
Soak in bubbles or try a lovely scented bath oil with soothing scents like lavender. Make bath time a ritual and enjoy it with a glass of wine or a great book. In addition, if you happen to be lucky enough to have access to a hot tub or pool, a quick dip can absolutely therapeutic. A lovely soak can truly change your whole perspective on life.
2. Give yourself a facial
Our skin is our protection against the world and our face is what we show everyone. Dull, dry skin makes us look sick and sad while radiant and vibrant skin exudes healthiness and happiness. Facial cleansing products with natural ingredients like red clay detoxify and clear away impurities from the skin letting the real you shine through.
3 . Get a massage
Massages are one of the ultimate forms of self-care. Allow yourself to be pampered by someone else as they rub away pain, soreness or stress. Choosing a lotion, moisturizer or body butter with aloe and other rejuvenating ingredients will help heal and protect skin while you get your muscles worked out.
4. Soak your feet
Fill a tub with warm water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Grab a candle and turn on some music. Then, let your cares float away as your feet relax.
5. Start a journal
A journal or another form of creative expression can be an amazing means of self-care. Write down your feelings, pound your tension out on your drum set, or paint a self-portrait. Just spend some time using your creativity to explore your emotions.
6. Get outdoors
Getting out in the sunshine is a proven mood booster. Plus, nature provides many reminders to slow down and enjoy life. Pencil in a 10 minute daily walk through the local park and spend time watching the animals, enjoying the foliage and basking in the glory of nature all around you.
Some people look at exercise as a punishment or as an activity to dread. But, it is a hugely important component of a healthy life. However, don’t stress out about it because that is counterproductive. You do not have to be a marathon runner or a yoga expert to reap the rewards of exercise. A 30 minute walk every day is a great start.
Isn’t it selfish?
Self-care is not selfish. It is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Self-care is about checking in with yourself, getting in tune with your body and enjoying being in your skin. If that’s wrong, then you do not want to be right. Promise.
Ask yourself this: What are the other options for stress management?
Junk food, hours of couch potato time, sleeping in, drinking excessively, and other detrimental choices are often used as band-aid solutions for the fact that your body is in turmoil. When you think of it that way, you simply have no choice but to look after your own well-being.