Self-care isn’t just a buzzword. It’s an essential aspect of life.
You can’t expect to show up daily as your best, most productive self if you’re denying your mind and body the time and space they need to rest. You will experience burnout and compromise your health.
You need to put yourself and your needs first every single day. And engaging in self-care is one of the most effective ways to improve your health and well-being daily. So start treating it as a non-negotiable!
Here are the 3 most underrated benefits of self-care and how they can serve you daily.
What is Self-Care?
Before I dive into the benefits of self-care, let me first cover what it is and what it is not.
Self-care is any activity you do to help take better care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Whether this is spending time in nature, setting healthier boundaries or adopting good habits.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, the core meaning of self-care has become slightly misleading.
What you think self-care is
Self-care has gained mass popularity on social media, but it is often promoted as being all about bubble baths, yoga, and spa days.
Open any social media app and search for the word “self-care” or “#selfcare”. You will most likely see pictures and videos of beautiful, slender girls all waking up at 5 a.m., wearing matching athleisure sets, heading to the gym to work out, and drinking green smoothies (all with added matcha powder of course).
Even brands are jumping on the bandwagon by turning self-care into a marketing opportunity. They aggravate a problem and claim that their product will cure it.
Women now spend up to $124 a month on self-care hoping it will help them feel like their best selves. They adopt the same habits as everyone else and still wonder why nothing is working for them.
The truth is there is no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care.
What self-care actually is
Self-care is unique to you and your needs. It doesn’t need to involve buying into the latest wellness trends, spending hours pampering your skin, or going on a silent meditation retreat.
Self-care can be simple and affordable.
Think of it as something you turn to in that moment to give you what you need; whether that is joy, comfort, or peace.
For me, self-care is anything that makes me feel grounded. This typically looks like reading for half an hour in the morning, swimming in the sea, practising gratitude and going on a sunset walk.
And because self-care is unique to you, this means that your routine will look completely different to mine. It’s about finding those simple rituals that work for you.
3 Important Benefits of Self-Care
When engaging in a self-care routine that works for you, whatever activities you do should make you feel good on the inside and outside.
If you’re choosing to do a lot of inner healing work, then yes, you may feel slightly uncomfortable as you dig deep and reflect. But overall, you should continue enjoying the benefits of self-care on your health and well-being long after practising it.
Self-care is proven to help:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Boost energy
- Improve your mood
- Form and maintain better relationships (more on this later)
- Encourage personal growth
- Promote overall life satisfaction
Self-care has helped me prioritise my well-being daily without sacrificing productivity, allowed me to handle challenging situations better, and deepened the connection I have with myself.
These are the important benefits of self-care I want to talk about in more detail because even the most underrated aspects of self-care can still have the biggest impact.
- Self-care promotes a healthy work-life balance
Maintaining work-life balance is the foundation of creating a healthier and happier life. But in today’s fast-paced world, balancing work and personal life is becoming increasingly tougher.
It is important to practise self-care because it links these two aspects.
When you make time for self-care you are supporting daily well-being. This means you are creating healthy work boundaries, prioritising what’s important to you and addressing your needs with nourishing activities.
Self-care also allows you to maintain optimal energy. When you have energy, you can spend more time socialising with friends and family rather than feeling depleted after a busy day.
Supporting daily well-being and maintaining healthy energy levels ultimately boosts productivity and prevents you from experiencing burnout. You can continue to show up daily as your best self and work towards your work objectives.
Practising self-care every day for that reason just makes sense.
Some beneficial self-care activities to try for a healthy work-life balance include:
- Starting your day with a nourishing morning routine
- Taking regular breaks
- Being mindful of your capabilities and not taking on too much
- Building a shutdown routine
- Going screen-free in the evenings
- Self-care builds emotional resilience
Let’s face it. You are bound to face unexpected challenges at some point in your life. Whether this is daily, weekly or monthly, roadblocks will happen — it’s a fact of life.
Emotional resilience is what helps you overcome the challenges you encounter, and self-care is what makes this resilience stronger.
Think about it: how many times have you had a minor breakdown over a small, insignificant thing because you were already feeling emotionally exhausted?
Remember, it’s always the straw that breaks the camel’s back, not the heaviest object. So, if you are facing multiple obstacles, it’s likely the smallest one that will cause the biggest emotional impact.
By taking the time to decompress and recharge daily, you can mentally, physically and emotionally reset your mind and body. This, in turn, strengthens your resilience and empowers you to navigate life’s ups and downs with greater ease.
Examples of self-care activities to practice for emotional resilience include:
- Practicing gratitude
- Spending time with loved ones
- Adopting healthy habits like exercising regularly and getting enough sleep
- Engaging in therapy or coaching
- Self-care teaches you to appreciate your own company
The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Unfortunately, thanks to daily life and distractions, it is getting harder and harder to spend quality time by ourselves.
There also seems to be an emphasis on having a big group of friends and always socialising.
Go to a restaurant alone, and people seem to gawk at you with a sympathetic smile as though it is weird or pathetic to be eating alone.
But I think it’s time that we normalise doing things solo.
That is where self-care comes in. It reminds us of the beauty in spending time alone and teaches us to appreciate our own company.
A big chunk of my self-care journey has been about figuring out my passions without being influenced by others. In turn, this has helped me accept and love myself more.
So I encourage you to spend time by yourself every day — even when you’re doing habitual things like showering or commuting to work. Mute all distractions and simply be with yourself, check in with yourself, and ask yourself questions to get to know yourself better.
You will also find that spending time alone will make your other relationships stronger. When you know yourself better, you can feel more confident and fulfilled when hanging out with friends and family.
Some self-care activities to do in order to appreciate your own company include:
- Taking yourself out on a solo date
- Looking at yourself in the mirror and smiling
- Repeating positive affirmations to yourself
- Taking up a new hobby
- Going on long walks in nature with zero distractions
How to Turn Self-Care into a Daily Practice
I believe that self-care should be a daily practice.
You cannot physically, mentally and emotionally show up and perform at your best if you are not taking care of yourself first.
Carving out time for yourself daily allows you to do this.
However, I understand that making time for self-care every day isn’t always going to be realistic to achieve, especially if you have a busy schedule. That is why I encourage you to build a simple self-care routine that doesn’t take hours to complete.
Self-care doesn’t need to be an all-day event to be effective. You can easily incorporate it into your day so you can continue to feel refreshed even when your schedule is taking priority.
This could be as simple as taking a 5-minute break after a work meeting to regroup or having 20 minutes to yourself in the evening when you do absolutely nothing.
So, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the thought of spending 2 hours pampering yourself in the evening, keep it short and manageable. Strip it back and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”
I also encourage you to follow this 5-step framework on how to make time for self-care, even when you’re busy:
- Step 1: Find a gap in your schedule and commit to just 10 minutes a day. Keeping your self-care routine short so it easily fits into your lifestyle is the key to staying consistent.
- Step 2: Set an alarm, and once it goes off, say to yourself, “Ok, it’s time for a self-care break.”
- Step 3: Focus on your needs first and choose an activity that directly addresses those needs rather than indulging in a random self-care activity you won’t benefit from at that moment.
- Step 4: Choose activities you actually enjoy. Self-care should never feel like a chore or make you miserable. That would defeat its purpose.
- Step 5: Build the habit for 6 weeks so self-care becomes something you do naturally.
It is no secret that self-care is important for our health and well-being. However, you must remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care.
Some days your self-care routine might look like having a bubble bath, watching Netflix, doing yoga and meditating. On other days, you might simply need some fresh air and a good old belly laugh.
There’s nothing wrong with either one of these sets of self-care rituals as long as they address your needs and help you feel better physically, emotionally or mentally.
To reap all the benefits of self-care, I encourage you to stop copying what everyone else is doing and prioritise you and your needs first, always.
Guest Author Bio:
Hey, it’s Thalia!
I’m not like the other wellness girls you see online.
I don’t drink coffee or matcha lattes and I’m not a huge fan of green smoothies. Give me a medium-rare steak with a glass of red wine any day and I’ll be a very happy girl.
I’m also famous for my slow mornings. You won’t see me waking up at 5 a.m. and following an unsustainable “That Girl” routine but instead ignoring my alarm and choosing to read a fiction book over going to the gym.
For the past 3 years, I’ve been empowering women to stop copying what everyone else is doing and do what works for them.
So if you’re craving a more realistic approach to self-care, you can find me on Instagram and Pinterest all under @notesbythalia.
And for deeper “how to” posts that empower you to do things on your own terms, head over to my blog notesbythalia.com.
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