What Is Self-Care and Why Is It Important?
It's easy to get lost in our obligations to others. We need to take care of our family members, our workplace responsibilities, and our daily chores. But in all that bustle, it's easy to forget about ourselves.
In fact, far too many people don’t practice self-care or even know what it is. It’s no wonder that many Americans experience various ailments and ills, ranging from physical to emotional to mental illnesses.
Today, let’s take a deep breath and a step back and break down what self-care is and why you should practice it every day.
Put simply, self-care is the practice of taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being through various methods, habits, or tricks. Self-care can include specific routines in your daily activities, special treats or rewards you give yourself, and many other things.
But at its core, self-care means paying attention to what you need as a person and taking steps to provide yourself with the care you require to feel, look, and act your best.
Does Self-Care Really Matter?
Absolutely! We often make a big deal about caring for others. While this is a good thing on its face, many of us also take it to the extreme and fail to practice self-care.
This is doubly true when you consider that our daily lives often require us to pay less attention to ourselves and more attention to our various responsibilities, such as our workplaces, families, and so on.
Before you know it, unhealthy habits like reading your phone before bed, constantly answering work emails, and failing to give yourself time to relax can seep into your daily routine.
If left alone, these negative habits can affect your health for the worse. Self-care is the remedy to many poor lifestyle habits.
Without adequate self-care, you could:
- Experience less physical wellness over time
- Feel bad about yourself, which may affect your relationships or decisions
- Experience mental health issues
- Find it difficult to focus on your responsibilities or goals
All in all, self-care is of tremendous importance, and we each need to learn how to practice it in our daily lives.
How To Practice Self-Care
Luckily, there are many ways to practice self-care and take better care of yourself. Many of these strategies involve slight tweaks to daily habits or routines or avoiding negative stimuli.
Get Plenty of Sleep
For starters, make sure you get plenty of sleep every night. The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night regardless of their work habits, energy levels, or even age. But many Americans don’t get enough sleep every night because of their various responsibilities.
On top of that, we rely so much on electronics that digital screens and electric lights can throw off our sleep cycles, making us feel less sleepy after the sun goes down than we should. Try to counteract these effects and set a strict bedtime for yourself, so you get plenty of winks each night.
Odds are you’ll feel much better after a few nights of solid sleep than you have in quite a while!
Maintain Physical Health
Getting enough sleep is just another aspect of overall physical health. By the same token, take steps to ensure your physical health.
It’s harder than ever to do this, we know. With so much entertainment at the tips of your fingers and so much to watch or play, going to the gym or engaging in physical activity is often unattractive in comparison.
But it’s crucially important regardless. Humans are meant to move around and get some amount of physical activity each day. Luckily, you don’t need to work out like a gym fanatic to stay healthy. For most folks, as little as 30 minutes of physical activity per day is enough to stave off the side effects of sedentary lifestyles.
Self-care also means paying attention to what you put in your body; after all, you are what you eat! To that end, it’s not a problem to treat yourself to a tasty dessert from time to time (which can also be an aspect of self-care). But you should also make sure you eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and healthy carbs and proteins.
You can also practice self-care by enjoying healthy supplements that round out your nutritional requirements. Hope Health’s Immune+ Organic Tablets are a great example of wellness-focused supplements most folks can use to meet their nutritional goals and potentially boost their energy level throughout the day.
Too many of us embrace the grind and hustle lifestyle of our modern workplace environments. There’s nothing wrong with working hard toward your goals, but don’t let recreation fall completely by the wayside.
Give yourself some time to engage in hobbies you enjoy or simply to relax with a comforting book or TV show you love. Recreation is a chance for your mind to recharge and regenerate – you need it just as much as you need good food and plenty of sleep.
Cultivate a Gracious Mindset
Perhaps due to overexposure to negative media and news articles, many Americans find themselves constantly pessimistic or down about their lucks. A gracious mindset – in which you count your blessings and continuously focus on the things you can be thankful for – can actually do wonders to increase your outlook and mental health.
This is another key aspect of self-care. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, but it’s often out of our control. However, you can take some amount of control of your mental health into your own hands by cultivating a gracious mindset.
Focus on what you have to be thankful for and what you can control. You’ll feel better and be less affected by unlucky events.
Avoid Excessive Screen Time
We all spend far too much time looking at computer and smartphone screens. In many cases, this habit can have negative health effects by throwing off our circadian rhythms (which makes it harder for us to go to sleep) and causing us not to get as much in-person social interaction as we really need.
Put down the phone and hop off the computer from time to time. Visit your friends in person instead of texting them or giving them a phone call.
We also recommend practicing self-care by limiting your screen time right before bed. For the best results and to prevent your brain from being fooled by the blue light emitted by your phone or computer, don’t look at screens for about one hour before you go to sleep.
Set Appropriate Boundaries
Lastly, self-care also means setting appropriate boundaries at work and for your familial relationships. One great example is receiving a text from a coworker or boss at 10 PM the night before your day off.
If your workplace requests come in on your day off right as you are about to go to sleep, refuse or simply turn your phone off. Set boundaries about your time, and you’ll feel mentally healthier and be able to practice the other self-care tactics described above.
This is just one example of how setting appropriate boundaries can do wonders for your overall mental and emotional health.
In the end, self-care is the only way you can pursue long-term wellness and health. It’s more important than any single supplement you take or any dietary regimen you choose to follow. Self-care is of vital importance, so take steps to start practicing it ASAP.
You can learn more about self-care and discover how to ensure you only put good ingredients in your body by checking out Hope Health. Not only do we have a wealth of guides surrounding wellness topics, but we also have a collection of organic, healthy supplements that may help you adjust your diet for better health overall. Check them out today!
How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? | Sleep Foundation
Does the Light From a Phone or Computer Make it Hard to Sleep? (for Teens) | Nemours KidsHealth
What do we mean by self-care? | WHO