Participating in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to have a range of positive effects on physical, mental and emotional health. Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself so that you can stay physically, mentally and emotionally well. Research suggests that self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as building resilience, living longer, and being better equipped to manage stress. Why is it important? Self-care encourages you to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself so that you can convey good feelings to others.
You can't give to others what you don't have yourself. While some may misinterpret self-care as selfish, it's far from that. When you pay enough attention to your well-being, you're not just considering your needs; you're revitalizing yourself so you can be the best version of yourself for the people around you. Everyone around you also benefits from the renewed energy and joy you exhibit.
While supporting and helping someone who may be in crisis, it's especially important that you also take care of yourself. Practicing self-care doesn't mean you choose yourself over your loved one; it means that you're simply being aware of your own needs, so you can better support the people you care about. To get into the routine of practicing regular self-care, experts recommend starting small rather than tackling the most challenging thing first. Paula Gill Lopez, PhD, associate professor and chair of the psychological and educational counseling department at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, says the need for self-care is obvious.
There is no way to say exactly what counts as self-care, because the definition of each person is their own and unique. If weekly manicures or monthly spa days are out of your means, there are many other self-care practices you can adopt. In general, self-care is as individual as you are, but generally speaking, a personal care plan should be pleasant, relaxing, or stimulating. Self-care is defined as the intentional practice of taking steps to preserve or improve one's health, well-being and happiness, particularly during times of stress.
There are many forms of self-care that promote physical, mental and emotional health, to give you an overall sense of well-being. Archie Messersmith-Bunting hopes to reframe the discussion around mental health and suicide, and teach others that self-care is selfless. Self-care isn't a “one-size-fits-all” practice; you'll need to customize your own personal care plan based on your needs. Keep in mind that if you read this and feel a sense of demoralization or sadness about the challenges that build up or establish a self-care practice, it is best to get help and support. If you're having trouble thinking about ways to take better care of yourself, here are four easy ways to start.
And while there are many examples of self-care that seem to walk a fine line between health-improving behavior and complacency, self-care doesn't have to be about filling your calendar with luxurious experiences or activities that cost money (although you certainly can).