What is Self-Care and Why is it Important for Your Health?
Words by Lyndsey Grima
What is Self-Care and Why is it Important for Your Health?
Let’s get one thing straight: self-care is not self-indulgence and self-care is anything but selfish. We’re sure you’ve heard of the phrase, ‘You cannot fill from an empty cup’ and self-care addresses just that...filling your own cup first so that you can show up as a better version of yourself to others.
Self-care is a term that has gained popularity, especially recently, as people started to recognise the importance of taking care of themselves in all aspects, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But what exactly is self-care and why is it important for your health?
In this blog post, we will explore the meaning of self-care and delve into the reasons why we think it is crucial to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. We’ll also give you our favourite self-care routine at the end of the blog, so keep reading!
What is Self-Care?
The World Health Organisation defines the term self-care as: ‘the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker.’
This definition implies that self-care includes anything that is related to staying physically healthy such as nutrition, hygiene, and seeking medical assistance if needed. Basically, self-care includes all the steps that you should take to manage stressors in a better way so that you can take care of your own health and well-being.
There is no one-size-fits-all for self-care. A self-care routine will vary depending on your preferences, needs and circumstances. Your self-care routine for April might be different from the one you set out for a busy weekend in May. On one occasion it might be as simple as taking a few moments to practice deep breathing while on another your routine might take a whole morning covering activities such as journaling, reading and taking a long calming bath.
Different Types of Self-Care
You might be at a loss as to what classifies as self-care. We’re here to tell you that anything that puts a smile on your face and makes you feel at ease is self-care.
A few categories of self-care include:
- Physical self-care such as sticking to an exercise routine, prioritising sleep, and eating healthy and nutritious food.
- Emotional self-care such as having a long bath, applying your favourite skin-care, self-talk, saying ‘no’ to things you do not want to do, and having dinner with a close friend, amongst others.
- Spiritual self-care such as meditation, journaling, spending time in nature, and more.
There’s no fine line as to what counts as self-care and what doesn’t - anything that brings you joy can be classified as self-care in our books.
Why is Self-Care Essential for your Overall Health?
Many self-care practices have been linked to longevity and positive health outcomes and we can see why. Living a longer and fuller life has been associated with abiding by healthy practices such as exercising and eating nutritiously.
Self-care promotes physical health
Taking care of your body is an essential part of self-care. This includes anything from engaging in physical activity, getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and staying hydrated. These practices can, in turn, prevent illness, boost your immune system and increase your energy levels, promoting a healthier life.
A greater emphasis on mental health
We have neglected our mental health long enough! Self-care puts mental health at the forefront, as it should be! Stress and anxiety can take a toll on your well-being and engaging in self-care practices such as mindfulness and meditation can help improve your mood and stress levels, and boost your mental resilience.
Self-care increases emotional well-being
Emotions are a natural part of being human, but sometimes we’re so busy that we do not get time to really process them. Taking care of your emotional well-being is essential for your overall health. Self-care activities like practising self-compassion and spending time with loved ones can create emotional connection and support.
A great way to prevent burnout
Recently, we’ve been hearing the term ‘burnout’ more than we’d like. Taking care of yourself can prevent this emotional exhaustion. Practice activities such as setting healthy boundaries, practising self-compassion, and finding ways and elements to manage your stress in better ways.
How to Set Your Own Personal Self-Care Routine
If you’re looking to get started on your own self-care routine, here’s how to get right on it:
- Start by determining the things and activities that bring you joy and calm you both physically and mentally.
- Our advice is to start small. Choose one or two behaviours that you would like to incorporate into your routine.
- Focus on practising these behaviours every day for a week and reflect on how you feel.
- When you feel that you are ready to take on more, add more activities to perfect your self-care routine.
We’ve got a couple of favourite self-care activities. Take inspiration from the below and build your own personal self-care routine!
- Journaling for 5 mins daily.
- Eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast.
- Practising yoga, at least once a week.
- Daily morning meditation.
- Having a pamper routine using our favourite skincare products once a week.
- Calling a friend just for a chat.
- Switching off phone notifications one hour before going to bed.
Lyndsey Grima, fitness enthusiast loves to unwind by putting her phone on flight mode while training to avoid distractions. ‘I also love taking some me-time every Sunday to really unwind and get ready for a new week. I plan the week ahead on Sunday evening while doing a little pamper session like a face or hair mask’.
Self-care can have an incredibly positive effect on your health and well-being but it takes time and commitment. Start small and you’ll become a calmer version of yourself in no time!