The True Meaning of Self-Care and Why You Should Embrace It
Go through your social media feed for a few minutes and you’ll probably find at least one person documenting his or her idea of self-care, whether it’s lounging in the infinity pool of a five-star hotel or drinking homemade tea with a good book in hand. Self-care isn’t just limited to these Instagrammable activities, and it shouldn’t be groundbreaking either. In fact, the idea of people indulging in forms of care can be traced way back to the ancient world. The legendary Egyptian queen Cleopatra, for example, was said to have enjoyed baths of milk and honey, and the tradition of drinking rose water for its health and beautifying effects can be traced to ancient Persia, Greece, Egypt, and Rome.
You don’t have to be a ruler of the ancient world to enjoy self-care. Also, just because millennials are championing this trendy movement doesn’t mean it is only for the younger generation. Self-care is more than just a hashtag or an excuse to splurge on a seven-day Bahamas vacation. Here are four good reasons why the self-care trend is something that should seriously be included in your lifestyle.
As mentioned earlier, self-care isn’t about expensive vacations; it’s the idea of giving yourself time to rest and recuperate. Of course, a long weekend getaway can do wonders to help you recharge, but doing simple activities such as taking short power naps during lunch break or enjoying a long hot bath after a hectic day is just as rejuvenating. It may sound counterproductive, but taking time to care for yourself can actually help you get more work done.
Research has consistently shown that breaks can improve cognitive abilities, creativity, comprehension, and decision-making. All this translates to better productivity for you. On the other hand, when you skip breaks and don’t allow yourself to unwind, you are more prone to work burnout; and before long, you might find yourself inefficient and resentful of your job. Furthermore, overworking and stress can make you more vulnerable to a multitude of health problems, like anxiety, heart disease, insomnia, and diabetes.
Better Mental and Physical Health
Personal health is one of the most important areas you should focus your self-care efforts on. This includes investing in food and activities that will promote both mental and physical health. Without good health, you would not be able to work hard, be a reliable friend, and enjoy your life. Take time to do an inventory of your current lifestyle. Are you eating healthy? Are you sleeping enough every night? And are you getting enough exercise? Do you have chronic health issues that need to be addressed?
Be completely honest about your current way of life and map out the steps that can be taken to improve it. This can include simple tweaks like making time in your schedule for doing home workouts or increasing the grocery budget so you can shop for healthier whole food products instead of cheap yet unhealthy processed food. You can also make room for more significant revamps like investing in technology that can help monitor your pulse if you have a heart condition or finding a counselor if you have mental health concerns that you need help with.
Your self-esteem has a significant impact on your overall quality of life. Studies have shown that people who have poor self-image are prone to addiction and substance abuse. People who have low self-confidence also have problems building strong and lasting relationships with others, and they may find it difficult to handle stress. Positive self-care habits can go a long way in helping reshape the negative self-image you have. For example, you can engage in productive hobbies that can help you overcome self-defeating thought patterns. Involving yourself in a sport or enrolling in weekly classes to learn a new skill can help you feel connected with others and overcome social anxiety issues and fear. These activities should not just be limited to rest and relaxation but also opportunities that can push you out of your comfort zone.
Self-care can also come in the form of getting therapy and counseling, especially if there are more deep-seated issues you want to deal with. More importantly, self-care is about reminding yourself that you truly love yourself, warts and all. Pat yourself on the back and don’t be afraid to say, “I got you!”
Face Life’s Challenges
Many people make the mistake of assuming self-care is all about feeling good and chasing after mindless self-indulgence. In reality, this habit is about empowering yourself so you can deal with hard things head-on. These challenging things can include quitting unhealthy habits. Ultimately, self-care is about improving your quality of life, but you would not be able to maintain joyfulness, peace of mind, and lasting self-confidence if you do not give up any existing unhealthy and toxic habits. A nicotine test kit should help give you an idea of how much toxins are in your body, and you can take the next step by cutting down on your cigarette consumption daily until you can totally kick the habit.
Keep in mind that substance addiction is a serious mental health issue, and you may experience very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you decide to quit. It is perfectly okay to seek professional help if you think you cannot manage it on your own. There are also numerous support groups that can give you the compassion and practical tips you need for breaking bad habits. Always be patient with yourself. The decision to turn your life around for the better is never easy, but it will be the best decision you make—not just for you, but for the people you care about.
Self-care is about being kind to yourself. Remember that not all battles are won in a day. Some of them require weeks, months, and even years of persistent hard work, and you won’t be able to keep at it if you do not take proper care of yourself.