Most of the time, we are so busy that we tend to ignore why self-care is important in our lives. We get stressed and we work too hard, but we never take the time off to deal with our stress to help our mind and body recover from the daily haul. It’s not that we don’t love ourselves, we are just too busy … to notice how busy we are.
In October 2017, a Japanese woman died after clocking 159 hours of overtime in just one month.
We’ve heard many stories about people whose health have degraded simply because of stress and overwork.
An article in ABC News mentioned that Americans are working longer hours now than at any time since statistics have been kept.
And not only that. They are also working longer than anyone else in the industrialized world. Can you imagine that?
Such stories and statistics are quite alarming, yet we sometimes tend to ignore these and choose to move on with our lives … until the time that our body decides to give up.
What is Self-Care?
Before we discuss anything further, let’s first take a look at what self-care is all about. Here are two definitions that would best describe self-care:
“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.” – via PsychCentral
“Self-care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self-care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating
yourself as kindly as you treat others.” – via Fort Garry Women’s Resource Center
In general, self-care is taking care of yourself through activities that will help improve your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Now, as much as self-care focuses on taking care of ourselves, Dr. Bonnie Feldman of DrBonnie360 wrote an article in MindBodyGreen that developing a self-care practice is actually the most selfless thing to do.
She states, “Whether we realize it or not, self-care is about more than just ourselves. After all, adults can model self-care habits to build a culture of sustainable health, while young people can establish good habits now that will pay off in the future with improved well-being and lower health care costs.”
She encourages everyone to do their part of taking care of themselves. And aside from improving our own health, self-care can empower our entire community.
Why Self-Care Is Important
Do you want to take a step and follow Dr. Bonnie’s advice on self-care? Here’s a list of 10 reasons why self-care is important to do regularly:
- It can help boost your immune system.
- It can improve your self-compassion.
- It will help you find out who you really are.
- It will improve your overall health.
- It will make you think and act positively.
- It will help you increase your energy.
- It will help you be more productive, engaged, and connected.
- It will make it easy to maintain your weight.
- It will help you improve your longevity and quality of life.
- It will help you save money.
Now, that you know why self-care is important, let’s take a look at some self-care activities and techniques that you can do to become the best version of yourself … and inspire others to do the same.
Self-Care Tip #1: Avoid Toxic People
Wherever we go, we are bound to meet toxic people. And no, we are not talking about the annoying, demanding people that we often see in the workplace. They may not be likable, but technically, they are not toxic.
Who, then, are these toxic people?
We are talking about those people who try to control you. The ones who disregard your boundaries. The ones who always take but never give. The ones who think they are always right. The ones who lie to your face all the time. The ones who love to play the victim. The ones who never take responsibility for their actions. Toxic people are like vampires who drain out all your blood and energy.
Here’s one of the effects of having a toxic person in your life:
“Under the influence of a toxic person, you might second guess yourself on an important decision. You might feel sad, uncomfortable and downright ashamed about your own progress and well-being.
“You might even take on some of the same toxic qualities you resent in others — something that happens to the best of us — because toxic people have a peculiar way of making you toxic yourself.” via How to Cut Toxic People Out of Your Life
Self-Care Tip #2: Get a Massage
If you have an idea why self-care is important, then you wouldn’t hesitate to get a massage. Getting regular massages is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. Aside from the relaxation that comes with it, it can also prevent skeletomuscular injuries.
Getting a good quality massage chair is another good way to give yourself a massage. And we highly recommend it.
“Regular massages can be extremely beneficial for those who find relaxation to be difficult.
“By keeping your body, mind, and spirit in a relaxed state for longer periods of time you can avoid the harmful side effects of stress such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and tension headaches.” via 5 Reasons to Add Massage to Your Self-Care Routine
Self-Care Tip #3: Try Acupuncture
Many studies have proven that acupuncture is a very effective wellness procedure especially in addressing stress and anxiety. It is also one of the top treatments for pain.
Not entirely convinced about acupuncture? You’ll be glad to know that FDA gave approval in 1996 on the use of acupuncture needles as medical devices.
Here is a good reason to start using acupuncture:
“Forget the fact that most acupuncturists are doctors of traditional Chinese medicine and skilled herbalists, acupuncture itself is a wellness protocol that offers big benefits. (We’ve got our eye on you.)
“If you’ve never experienced the benefits of acupuncture, the idea of getting poked with needles to relax might sound like a joke. But committing to routine acupuncture appointments is actually a very easy, low maintenance habit that can help to heal pain and fight chronic stress.” via Why Acupuncture Should Be Part of Your Monthly Self-Care Routine
Self-Care Tip # 4: Drink More Water
People often overlook the simple act of drinking water, which is a very important habit that we need for self-care. Most of the time, we don’t drink enough water to stay hydrated … and this eventually causes health problems. Avoiding health problems is one of the many reasons why self-care is important.
Here are more reasons why we need to drink lots of water:
“The obvious reason for drinking more water is to stay hydrated, and they recommend to drink a big tall glass of water in the morning for hydration reasons. Think about it, you have been asleep for 7 to 8 hours and have had no water.
“There are other reasons for drinking water, this is not an all-inclusive list but a few that I found interesting or helpful.
“Drinking water can increase energy and reduce fatigue, assist with weight loss, improve complexion, and reduce headaches as this may be a sign of dehydration.” via Self-Care – How Can You Benefit From Drinking More Water?
Self-Care Tip #5: Go For a Walk Listening to Music You Love
One of the most relaxing things to do is going out for a walk by yourself while listening to good music. With every step you take, your stress will gradually disappear. Walking is also extra effective when you are listening to your favorite songs.
Let’s look at the scientific angle, why this works:
“Researchers at McGill University took fMRIs of participants who were listening to favorite songs. They found that during peak moments of music, the participants’ brains released dopamine.
“Dopamine is a hormone that is linked to feelings of reward (for example, it is also released in response to sex, eating, and certain drugs.)
Interestingly, dopamine was also released right before the peak moments in the songs — as if the brain was anticipating the reward to come. That’s why for many of us, listening to familiar songs can overwhelm us with positive feelings — we feel high because our bodies are literally experiencing a physiological reaction to the music we love.” via 6 Scientific Reasons To Add Music To Your Self-Care Regimen
Self-Care Tip #6: Do a 5-Minute Meditation on Your Feet
Why only 5 minutes? Well, since we are always busy, sometimes the only time we’ve got on our hands is just five minutes. Longer is better, but we’ve got to start somewhere. The benefits of meditation are endless if we make it an everyday habit.
Here are a few things that tell us why meditation should be part of our everyday routine and why self-care is important to live a healthy lifestyle.
“Meditation can help us to eliminate negative thoughts, worries, anxiety, all factors that can prevent us feeling happy. It has been proven that the practice of meditation, carried out on a regular basis, will mitigate the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
“If we make a habit of meditating, we feel mentally fresh and we are able to deal with difficult situations more easily.” via Why Meditation Is So Important and How It Can Help Us Feel Happier.
Self-Care Tip #7: Go to a Support Group Meeting and Share and Listen
Joining support groups is a self-care activity that contributes to making us feel better. One example is Alcoholics Anonymous which has helped millions of people on their road to recovery.
You don’t have to look for a famous support group such as AA. The idea is just to get around people undergoing the same struggles who can identify with your problems.
“Support groups bring together people facing similar issues, whether that’s illness, relationship problems or major life changes. It can be helpful just getting to talk with other people who are in the same situation.
“A support group can help you cope better and feel less isolated as you make connections with others facing similar challenges. A support group shouldn’t replace your standard medical care, but it can be a valuable resource to help you cope.” via Support Groups: Make Connections, Get Help
Self-Care Tip #8: Try Journaling If You’ve Never Tried It Before
Journaling is a very effective self-care activity that you can do. It allows you to become more familiar with yourself by jotting down your thoughts.
Stephen R. Covey described the amazing effects of journaling. He said, “Keeping a personal journal, a daily in-depth analysis and evaluation of your experiences, is a high-leverage activity that increases self-awareness and enhances all the endowments and the synergy among them.”
“Journaling daily is the most potent and powerful keystone habit you can acquire. If done correctly, you will show up better in every area of your life — every area! via Why Keeping a Daily Journal Can Change Your Life
Self-Care Tip #9: Learn How to Tactfully Say No When You Already Feel Overwhelmed
Learning how to say NO to invitations or requests is part of taking care of yourself. It is also one of the many reasons why self-care is important. It’s freeing. It saves you from having to deal with something that you don’t really want to be a part of.
One article says that being able to say no is a way of honoring yourself, which is very important if you want to take care of you.
Here’s a very good way to put it:
“It’s true that sometimes saying “no” will hurt someone else’s feelings—you may even disappoint someone you admire. But you are also fostering resentment and regret when you don’t honor yourself and your needs.” via You Know Saying ‘No’ Is Important For A Healthy Life. Here’s How To Actually Do It
Self-Care Tip # 10: Be Selfish
Many times our attention goes out to other people so we fail to look at our needs and wants. While it’s good to be selfless, it doesn’t hurt to be a little selfish once in a while and give in to what we want.
Here’s an inspiring quote on the meaning of true selfishness:
“True selfishness takes courage. Being honest about who you are, what you want, and what you are willing to do to get it is important aspects of selfishness. Selfishness is about knowing yourself, getting in touch with yourself, and realizing that you are worth it.
“You deserve a shot. You are good enough.” via The Importance of Being Selfish
Self-Care Tip #11: Edit Your Social Media Feeds
Social media has played a major role in our lives in the past few years. And although it has brought joy and happiness to some people, it has also been the cause of anxiety and stress for others.
If you have an active presence on social media, you will know how influential the posts can be, especially on Twitter and Facebook. A negative post has the ability to make your whole day stressful.
And you know the best way to avoid this? Well, you can quit social media altogether. Or if that’s not an option, filter what appears in your social media feeds.
Lifehack has some advice. And that is to delete hateful people to make Facebook a happier place.
“Ain’t nobody got time for negativity. If a person complains 24/7, leaves hateful comments or sends excessive game requests… it’s time to break up.”
They also have a message for the ladies:
“Here’s your opportunity to dump all those guys who are leaving creepy comments on your photos, or bothering you with excessive messages.”
Getting Started With Your Self-Care Activities
Do you still wonder why self-care is important? Well, because taking care of ourselves is something that we owe ourselves. There is no other person in the world who would do this for us. Making it a habit to do simple self-care activities goes a long way. We don’t have to do everything at once. Doing a self-care activity one at a time is already a good start.
If you’re not sure how to start with your self-care activities, we invite you to start at Delta Discovery Center. We have a program called Tune-Up Tuesdays where you will experience six hours of pampering yourself at our beautiful center on Hilton Head Island. Learn more about the Tune-Up Tuesdays program or click here to get scheduled.