The words “self-care” are thrown around a lot these days, and the connotation is hardly positive most of the time. Many people think of self-care as a euphemism for self-indulgence, or they look at it as a reason people give in for pampering themselves or giving in to apathy. Not only are these characterizations inaccurate, but they also prevent many from engaging in real, necessary self-care due to the concept’s meanings ascribed to by society. Self Care requires a deep and personal understanding of our priorities as it has a profound effect not only on our well being but the people around us as well. It is about respecting, appreciating and valuing your body.
We will discuss various aspects of self-care and why you should “get on the bandwagon” so to say.
Why Is Self-Care Important?
Regardless of the type of life you lead, everyone needs self-care. A stay at home parent needs their alone time as well as a full-time employee at the end of a long day. Regardless if you are a male, female, parent, student, or employee, there are constant demands, expectations, and deadlines to be met. Those responsibilities and the stresses of everyday life can take a significant toll on your health if you don’t take time to recharge regularly. That is where the importance of self-care comes in, an opportunity for you to give yourself the care that your body and mind desperately need and deserve.
What Do The Professionals Say?
Even though you may have first heard the term “self-care” from your family or friends, they are not the only ones who talk about it or how it can improve your life. Mental Health Associations encourages individuals to make time for themselves.
They said the following:
“Taking good care of yourself is paramount to the success of your recovery process. People in recovery find that their physical, spiritual, and emotional health are all connected and that supporting one supports the others. Taking care of all aspects of you will increase the likelihood that you stay well.”
Alan Main, a healthcare expert, wrote a report in 2018 about self-care. He said, “Good practice of self-care enhances well-being, can help prevent disease, curb illness, and restore health.” He also said practicing regular self-care routine could prevent and manage many health problems people face daily.
What Does Self-Care Look Like?
Medical professionals advocate for self-care as a way of prevention to many chronic and acute health issues. Self-care may require some self-discipline like many other things that are for good for us, but the investment is well worth it.
Setting measurable goals
When you set goals, it shows yourself that you are progressing, continuously improving, learning, and it keeps you motivated moving forward.
Creating a gratitude list
You may surprise yourself with how much gratitude you have. Try adding three new gratitude to your list every day and before you realize you filled up pages with things that sometimes we take for granted.
Unplugging from technology
Reduce the time spent on the internet, television, social media so you can go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to meditate or to exercise. Nowadays, you don’t even need to hit the gym to get a fun workout. There are endless apps that you can use to raise your heart rate and tone your muscles even with just 10-15 minutes of exercise.
Schedule your “ME” time and avoid over-commitment. We’d all love to do everything we could do, but it is important not to over-commit and burn yourself out on doing all the “stuff” we want to do.
If you work full-time or even part-time, you must maintain a healthy work and life balance. If you work all the time and feel like you do not have time or energy for anything else, that could be an indicator that things need to change. It goes along with the point of simplifying your schedule, do not do more than
you can handle.
Try a new hobby
Learn something new you have always wanted to do, but have not had the chance as of yet. Or try something completely new and different that will stimulate different neuropathways. That can be, through taking an art class, working with wood to making furniture or art pieces, remodel a car, learn interior design, take up sewing, or learning a new language. The options are limitless, choose one that brings you the most joy.
Regardless of your religion, find a place near your home that you can visit that can help you recenter your spiritual self.
What Are Some Self-Care Activities?
As you undoubtedly know, indulging in spending sprees or eating binges are counterproductive to self-care. Here are a few activities that will positively affect your life:
No matter what that looks like to you, it is vital to have that time set aside where you can care for your body. Go for a walk, hike, or jog even if can do only 5 minutes. If your time allows it, get a gym membership, lift weights, do laps in a pool or go rock climbing. You can also get into the habit of daily morning or evening stretches so you can increase the blood flow to your muscles, improve your posture and range of motion, and it is an excellent stress reliever.
Take up meditation, yoga, get a facial or a massage regularly so you can benefit from its accumulated benefits overtime.
Take a bath
There is something about relaxing in a warm tub of water. It does wonder for rejuvenating body and mind. You can add some essential oils to the water to enhance your experience. Several essential oils assist with relieving stress and tension for the “ME” time.
Have good hygiene
When you take care of your physical body, it does affect how you feel about yourself. Pay attention the next time you wear a suit or dress with your hair done and compare how you feel that day with the day you stay at home and sit on your couch wearing sweats without having taken a shower.
Spend a night out
It is essential to spend time with friends and family as social media doesn’t replace the quality of connection and communication. When you make time for meaningful relationships, you create deeper bonds. Humans are social creatures by nature, so we all need to spend time with others. Yes, even if you are introvert. Even though you recharge alone, you still need positive and joyful human interactions.
What Are The Benefits of Self-Care?
As I mentioned earlier, there are several benefits to self-care. When you take care of yourself, you are choosing to treat your body, mind, and spirit positively. Here are several ways that can affect you:
For example, if you stayed up late watching television and only got about four hours of sleep, your day could have gone quite poorly.
You could have struggled with focusing, slower at performing tasks, and your brain seems sluggish, you lacked the energy to do your responsibilities, or if you did your responsibilities, you might not have done them as well as you could have. Driving becomes dangerous, and so on.
Positive Self Image
When you care for your body through eating healthy and exercising, you tend to view yourself in a more positive light. If you met weight goals or ran a marathon, you are naturally proud of yourself, which increase your self-confidence and self-worth and rightly so.
Improved Physical Health
Participating in regular self-care habits, lowers stress levels, lessen the chance of headaches, chest pain, upset stomach, high blood pressure, and other maladies.
Another way your physical health can benefit from a self-care routine is setting aside time for regular massage therapy.
The University of Minnesota wrote an article about the numerous benefits of massage therapy on our mental and physical well-being. Some of these are improved circulation, increased energy, and focus, improved range of motion, muscle pain relief from chronic and acute medical conditions such and relaxation. One of the mental or emotional benefits are increased peace reduced anxiety and depression and lower stress levels. These are many articles regarding the benefits of massage therapy.
Improved Emotional Health
When you participate in self-care activities, it has a positive effect on your emotional well being. Many people enjoy going on walks or hikes as a form of self-care. When you go on walks or hikes, it engages both sides of your brain, allowing your judgment abilities to increase.
How Often Should I Do Self-Care?
Especially because self-care is a practice that is encouraged by the medical and all other health professionals, the question may come up as to how often you should you do it?
It’s been proven numerous times that adding self-care into one’s daily life reduces stress, decreases the chance of mental and physical illness, improves productivity, and increases the feelings of happiness. By giving ourselves a daily dose of self-love and compassion, we’re able to approach our work and relationships with a bright and happy mind, hence allowing the cycle of positivity to continue.
It is the same way with how long you should do it. You may only need a ten-minute walk before you feel rejuvenated or it may take a two-hour hike. Do self-care activities until you feel better.
How Does It Affect Those Around Me?
So far, you have learned about self-care, what it does to the benefits you can get. Even though the primary reason for taking care of yourself is the effect, it has on you, but it will have a positive impact as well as those around you. To put it bluntly, with regular self-care practice, you are happier, and people enjoy being around you. When you have good self-care habits, you are more likely to be patient, and you perform your job better.
True personal care is about honoring one’s body and mind through activities that give birth to the true self. When you choose to make personal care decisions, you want to improve your emotional, physical and mental well-being. Taking care of yourself is creating habits and a state of mind that helps relieve your stress.
The way you decide to take care of yourself should be directly connected to what is best for you.
There is so many ways to take better care of your body and mind. Identify the activities that make you feel at your best and “Just Do It”.
Commit yourself today to take care of yourself and enjoy the unlimited benefits of a healthy and fulfilling life.
Vivanti has been a leading provider of home massage for over 20 years in the Greater Montreal, Laval and South Shore regions. Having a massage at home is a great way to reconnect and reward yourself and / or your partner. Home massage is a mini-vacation for your body and mind without the stress and inconvenience of traveling.
Review our services and packages today to find the type of relaxation that’s right for you.
Take care of yourself!