Self care. We’re pretty sure that you’ve heard that phrase floating around. It’s become almost like a buzzword lately, where everyone from the celebrities online to your local gym trainer is raving about it. But what is self care? Why is it important?
Self care isn’t just some sudden trend that’s popped up in the media over the past few years. It’s actually a vital part of a healthy, well balanced lifestyle. After all, if you aren’t looking after yourself, then how can you function in a way that will give you a fulfilling life?
Today, we’re going to talk about everything that you need to know about self care. We’ll cover what it is, why you need it, how to do it and more. Keep reading on to get the complete lowdown – you won’t regret it!
What Is Self Care?
Let’s start out by establishing what self care actually is. According to the World Health Organization, they define self care as:
‘The ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider’.
That seems a little long winded, so let’s break it down a little. Self care is basically the act of doing conscious actions that are just for you. It’s all about looking after yourself. It can have different connotations for different people. For instance, relaxation is often an important component of self care. One person may view relaxation as a gaming session online with their friends, whereas someone else may see it as time to curl up with their favorite book. If it makes you feel good, then there’s a chance that it’s an act of self care (within reason).
As you can see, based on the WHO definition, self care can have a number of benefits both on mental and physical health. How about we explore those in a little more depth?
Why Is Self Care So Important?
In order to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle, it’s crucial that you practice self care. You need to look after yourself physically and mentally, otherwise it can have all sorts of negative effects on your overall well being.
Of course, it seems simple enough to say that you should practice self care, but it’s not always that easy. It can sometimes be difficult for many people today to find the time for self care. We’re led by hustle culture, which dictates that we should always be focusing on moving forward and making the next move to create a better life for ourselves. It doesn’t set a precedent for having the time for self care. If you take the time to look after yourself though, you will have a much easier time not only achieving your goals but also maintaining relationships, keeping on top of your physical health and your life as a whole will likely just feel that little bit better for you.
The great thing about self care is that you don’t actually have to dedicate hours to it every day. Even small things can make a big difference when it comes to self care, such as lighting a scented candle or having a walk on your lunch break from work. It’s all about taking the time that’s just for you to do something that will make you feel good.
What Are The Benefits Of Self Care?
Okay, so you know what self care is now and why it’s important, but what about the benefits? If you need that extra push to get you to take the time for self care, then here are a couple of the benefits of self care that you need to know about.
It Can Improve Physical Health
There’s a common misconception that self care is solely for the sake of improving mental health, but this isn’t actually the case. As it turns out, self care can have a lot of benefits for your physical health too.
When you practice self care, you’re also looking after your body and understanding what it needs in order for you to thrive. Self care can often be tiny acts like having a warm shower, brushing your teeth in the morning or making the effort to give yourself plenty of sleep on a daily basis. If you are creating a self care regime, then it’s vital that you also put plenty of emphasis on your physical wellbeing too.
It should be fairly obvious, but this comes with a lot of advantages for your health. For instance, if you are practicing proper dental hygiene as part of your self care regime, then you are less likely to have dental issues. Likewise, if you are focusing on exercise as part of your regime then you minimize your chances of getting certain physical ailments later down the line.
It Can Reduce Stress And Anxiety
A lot of people will use self care as a way to help them to feel less stressed and anxious. Certain activities can be really relaxing and are great for reducing stress levels. Things like taking a bath or listening to some music for a while. If the activity helps you to relax then it’s likely to relieve your stress and anxiety symptoms. Likewise, a lot of people will do mental health therapy to help them to manage stress and anxiety – that’s also a form of self care!
It Can Boost Self Esteem
If you want to feel a little better about yourself, it’s definitely worth indulging in some self care. Not only will you feel more relaxed but you can also change the way that you perceive yourself. It’s all about looking after yourself and being kind to yourself, and that can really help to change your outlook on things.
Practicing self care has been proven to improve your body image as a whole too. If you have better self esteem then you are likely to find it easier to cope with things in your everyday life too. If you want to thrive in life, you will certainly benefit from some self care.
It Can Protect Your Mental Health
If you have mental health issues, then self care is a necessary part of recovery. In addition to that, when you look after yourself you also reduce the risks of getting serious side effects from mental health problems.
It’s important to note that while self care is important for your mental health, it’s not instantly going to make everything better. If you are struggling then it’s important to get help as well as practicing self care. Speaking to someone like a mental health professional is almost always going to be beneficial for your wellbeing.
If you aren’t taking the time to look after yourself though you are far more likely to have problems in the long run, both with your physical and mental health. By looking after yourself, you are also protecting yourself.
It May Lead To Better Relationships
Here’s the thing. If you aren’t looking after yourself, you aren’t going to be as well equipped to help others when they need you. Likewise if you aren’t feeling like yourself, then you may not end up responding well to your loved ones and friends in certain situations.
If you practice self care then you are likely to feel much healthier and happier, and that means you may find it easier to dedicate time to your loved ones, creating more fulfilling relationships.
Self Care Tips To Improve Your Wellbeing
So how exactly do you practice self care in order to improve your wellbeing? There are a few different tips! Read on to learn more.
Pay Attention To Physical Health
First of all make sure that you are taking steps to focus on your physical health. There are a few things that come under this umbrella.
First of all, do things to focus on your physical hygiene. That includes showering or bathing regularly, brushing your teeth twice a day and washing. Some people also like to do an in depth skincare routine as part of their self care – maybe it’s worth giving that a try!
In addition to that, it’s also important to ensure that you are getting enough exercise. You should be getting a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week, or if you prefer more vigorous activities then you should get 75 minutes per week. You can do more than this if you prefer.
It’s always a good idea to look for a form of physical activity that you enjoy doing. Even a simple walk for 30 minutes a day can be enough to get your physical activity. The fresh air will also help you to feel a little better too. It may be worth looking into classes at your local gym to see what interests you. You may even end up developing a new hobby in the process.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is vital for your overall health and wellbeing. If you get enough sleep, then you are going to feel a lot better in your day to day life, will find it easier to function and it will be good for your long term health too. A lot of people struggle to get enough sleep though.
If you have a physical condition that means you struggle with sleep, it’s worth speaking to your doctor to see what you can do about it. Otherwise, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a day. You may find it easier to drift off to sleep if you limit your screen time before bed, since the light from your phone or laptop can sometimes keep your brain awake for longer. Make sure that you have a comfy bed to jump into to go to sleep, and that your bedroom is a place where you can fully relax for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Eat More Healthy
Healthy eating is good for your wellbeing, so it’s a good idea to get your diet in order as part of your self care plans. You don’t need to cut out all of the things that you love, contrary to popular belief. It’s totally okay to enjoy an indulgent meal every once in a while. It’s just important that you ensure that for the most part you have a balanced diet. That means eating plenty of fruit and veg, and the right amounts of protein, fats and carbohydrates. It’s worth experimenting with healthy recipes in the kitchen too. It’s a lot of fun to do this, and it will help you to get all of the nutrients that you need in your meals. You could end up finding some new favorite meals in the process.
Identify Things That Matter To You
What things are important to you in life? Part of taking care of yourself and thus self care is identifying the important things, and the things in life that make you happy. It’s about making a conscious effort to take the time to focus on these things. Figure out what’s important to you – it could be your family, career, or perhaps that dream you always had of writing a novel. Take some time to focus on those things in your life that mean a lot to you.
Change Your Mindset
You’d be surprised just how powerful your mindset can be in dictating the way that you feel and respond in certain situations. It’s a good idea to focus on your mindset when you want to practice self care. Work on the way that you talk to yourself. Speak kindly to yourself, rather than constantly giving yourself criticism. Try to change the way that you look at things if you have a habit of always looking at the glass as being half empty. Perception can have a huge effect on your mood, after all.
Learn To Say No
There are always going to be times in life where you have to agree to do things that you may not want to do. With that being said, it is okay to say no sometimes. If you’re the kind of person that has a hard time saying no to things, then now is the time to say no if there’s something that you really don’t want to do. You will thank yourself for it later, and chances are that the person who asked won’t mind if you say no every once in a while.
How To Budget For Self Care
Self care doesn’t need to cost a fortune, but there are things that may cost a little bit more money than others, such as spa treatments or days out that you have been wanting to do for a while. Perhaps you are planning on starting therapy but you need the budget for it.
When you get your money for the month, or week, it’s a good idea to assess your finances and see what your current budget is looking at. It’s always a good idea to put aside some money for things that will make you happy. If you do set aside this money, it also means that you are less likely to end up spending money that you don’t have, which is better for your wallet too. You could set aside around 10% of your budget, or more or less depending on your income. It ultimately depends on what you can afford to spend.
The Importance Of Physical Appearance On Internal Well-being
You may be surprised to learn that your physical appearance can have a huge impact on your overall well being. It’s important to have a healthy body image, as it can impact your confidence levels and your self respect, which are crucial for your mental health.
Here are some of the reasons why physical appearance is important for your internal well being.
Better Quality Of Life
If you like the way you look, then you are likely to feel happier overall. Looks aren’t everything, but taking the time to change your outlook on your appearance can certainly make you feel a lot happier, thus improving the quality of your life as a whole.
Feeling good about yourself can go a long way! If you take the time to focus on your physical appearance, then you may find yourself more attractive. This is the sort of thing people notice when they meet you. If you exude confidence in your own body and appearance, then you may find that you handle everyday situations with more confidence! Since your relationships can have such a huge impact on your wellbeing, it’s hard to emphasize just how important this is.
Your body image can have a massive impact on your confidence and self esteem levels. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘confidence is key’ before, but the phrase is certainly true. If you feel confident, you feel like you can take on the world! You’ll find that it affects your whole life, from your work, to your relationships and more.
Less Social Anxiety
Finally, your physical appearance can also impact you if you have social anxiety. If you don’t feel good about the way that you look then you may be less inclined to go out so others can see you. In fact, in many cases people that struggle with eating disorders will try to avoid being around other people because they fear being perceived negatively by those around them.
If you feel good about your appearance, on the other hand you may be more likely to get out and spend time with other people. Socializing is good for your mental health too, so this is most certainly a welcome side effect.
Top Spa Treatments For Relieving Stress
One of the best ways to practice self care is to take yourself for a revitalizing spa day! There are a bunch of treatments that you can get that will help you to relax and unwind, particularly if you have been feeling stressed lately. If you are thinking about visiting a spa for some well deserved rest and relaxation, here are a few that are definitely worth trying out.
A Revitalising Spa Facial
A lot of people like to go to the spa in order to get a facial done. Facials are incredibly relaxing and are a popular spa treatment for relieving stress. A facial consists of massages and treatments that are done on the face.
It’s designed to make you feel good and improve the recipient’s appearance. They can help to relax your skin, and are especially great when they are designed to work for your specific skin type and skin worries.
There are a number of benefits to getting a facial, no matter who you are. The most obvious is that they are great for relieving stress and anxiety. This is because the facial targets a number of pressure points in your face that can trigger certain responses in your body. It’s good for your blood circulation too, so you will feel revitalized after the treatment. It’s also great for cleansing the skin and reportedly can also prevent aging in the skin.
If you have acne, blackheads or whiteheads then a facial may also be just what you need, since the practitioner will usually use the extraction tool as part of the service to remove any blemishes from the skin.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to do your research before you get a facial. Visit an esthetician with experience or a salon if you are getting a facial to ensure that it is getting done correctly.
It’s also a good idea to do a patch test to ensure that you aren’t allergic to any of the products that are going to be used, and stay out of the sun for around a week after you are getting the facial. Don’t use any soap on the ace for a day or so after you get the facial done either.
If you want a massage when you visit the spa, then Swedish massage is one of the more popular ones. It’s great for helping you to feel good in your whole body, and involves a number of different treatments performed on the body.
Practitioners will use lotions or massage oils for the massage in order to prevent the skin from getting friction burns and incorporate their active ingredients into your massage.
Like a facial, Swedish massages come with a whole host of different benefits. For starters, they’re perfect if you just need a way to relax, and any pain, tension or stress in the body may feel like it’s evaporating for a while after you get a Swedish massage.
These kinds of massages are really good for your heart, thanks to the fact that they promote proper blood circulation throughout the body. If you’re experiencing a headache or problems with your muscles then they are particularly beneficial. You may have more immunity to viruses and other conditions after having a massage too.
Before you get a Swedish massage, it’s a good idea to relax in the shower for a while to activate the skin and put some comfy clothing on.
Have something to eat before getting the massage. Likewise, if you have any health conditions or you are pregnant, it’s worth speaking to your doctor before getting a massage to check that it’s okay for you to go ahead with it.
If you don’t mind getting your ears, hands and feet touched, reflexology may be a good choice for you! With this kind of massage, pressure is applied to these areas and this can result in stress relief for many people. It originates from Chinese medicine and comes with a whole host of health benefits.
Again, this kind of treatment is ideal if you want to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. It can relieve pain and help people to feel better in general. Some people believe that it has immune boosting effects and that it can even fight cancer. It’s reportedly good for improving fertility, helping people to recover from back issues and it’s also good for people struggling with hormonal imbalances in the body.
It’s safe to have reflexology treatment from an experienced reflexologist, but it’s always a good idea to speak to a doctor if you have any underlying medical issues such as epilepsy, problems with the thyroid, open wounds, blood clots and others.
A Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massages are usually effective treatments for musculoskeletal problems, but they are also ideal for easing stress and anxiety. It’s similar to Swedish massage in many respects except that the pressure used is different and they’re done for different reasons.
They are incredibly relaxing and are good for relieving pain symptoms and helping with physical ailments. As usual though, you will need to be careful if you have any blood related issues, have cancer or if you have osteoporosis.
You should speak to your doctor before getting a massage in these situations – if you have problems with the bones then you shouldn’t get a deep tissue massage, and you shouldn’t get one if you’re pregnant either.
How to Take Care of Yourself: Building Your Own Self Care Plan
It’s a good idea to have a plan in place when you want to start practising self care. Where do you even start?
Self care is thankfully not an exact science, so it’s something that you can do on your own terms and with your own rules. You don’t need to follow someone else’s self care regime if you don’t think that it will work for you. It should be an individual thing based on your specific needs.
You could have a self care regime that you do daily, weekly or less often than that. It doesn’t need to take you hours if you don’t want it to.
The best thing to do is to be realistic when you start making a self care plan. Don’t write down too many things if you don’t think that you can stick them out. Self care should be relaxing, not something that stresses you out.
Creating your plan can be as simple as you would like it to be. You can start by writing down a list of things that you want to incorporate as part of your routine, and then work on doing these things on a regular basis. You could also switch it up, doing something different that you’d like to try every other day.
The most important thing is that you are consistent with your routine. If you aren’t consistent then you aren’t likely to reap the benefits of self care because you aren’t doing it enough. Even just taking a 2 minute walk every day can sometimes be enough – as long as you keep doing it and it’s relaxing you, that’s the main thing.
If you are struggling with creating a plan for self care, it may be worth speaking to a mental health professional for further advice or looking for guidance online. You can find templates to help you to build your very own self care plan, and you may find that helpful.
Now you’re all ready to get started on your self care journey! Follow the guidance listed in this article and you’ll be on the road to feeling stress and anxiety free in no time.