The importance of self-care in improving mental well-being
You've been hearing about self-care at every turn, and more people are latching onto it these days for their mental health's sake. Maybe you've finally decided to take the leap. What could be more awesome! Well, how does self-care benefit you really?
Self-care means prioritizing and doing the things that improve your well-being, mentally and physically. Self-care can help you lower your stress levels, boost energy, manage anxiety and depression, and increase happiness. You just feel much better! And guess what; self-care can also increase longevity and reduce your chances of falling ill. It's a win-win on all counts.
What self-care is and what it's not
Before we go any further, let's clear the air on some little misconceptions. Self-care is NOT self-indulgence, and neither is it selfishness. Self-care isn't about shunning the world or your loved ones and caring only for yourself.
Self-care is more about balance, about caring for your health and well-being just as you would care for others, your job, and anything else. It's about not losing yourself (and your happiness) while chasing everything else. Self-care is letting go of the daily stress once in a while and doing what brings you peace and happiness and re-energizes you.
Self-care involves everything related to staying mentally and physically healthy, including nutrition, rest, sleep, hygiene, and seeking medical attention when needed. It can be something relaxing, intellectual, or spiritual. It's everything a person needs to do to manage the stressors in their lives and cope daily.
How self-care benefits your well-being
Keeping up with the fast pace of daily life is stressful. Just think about the growing demands from work; we are all striving hard to meet up. And there is social media and tons of emails to keep up with daily. It's becoming harder to just slow down and unwind, making it more common for people to feel anxious and overwhelmed.
Without a doubt, self-care makes up a critical part of how we can cope with our daily stressors.
And here's the best part. Practicing regular self-care will enable you to perform optimally in your job and life in general. That feeling of vigor and mental stability helps you better react to the things going on in your life. In fact, regular self-care is linked to increased productivity, higher self-esteem, lower stress, and a better immune system.
Self-care practices to include in your life
Here are some self-care practices and ideas to help you live a happier, stress-free life:
- Reading a book
- Mindfulness meditation
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Being kind to yourself
- Eating healthy
- Seeing a medical or mental health expert
- Seeing nature
- Taking breaks from technology
- Reflect on one thing you're grateful for daily
- Taking time to enjoy a relaxing hobby
Remember that self-care requires knowing how you're feeling and what your body needs at any given time. It could be something you use to deal with a difficult day. Different people will adopt different self-care routines, and you may need a different self-care activity for different situations. For example, while your body may crave sleep today, you may long for the outdoors or a good read tomorrow. Self-care is listening to your body and doing what's best for it.
Self-care may sometimes make you feel guilty, especially when you're so much used to putting others first. But remember that you are better able to care for others when you first care for yourself.