Self-care has become a bit of a buzz word as companies of all kind cash in on consumers’ willingness to pay for goods and services that make them feel better. Its widespread popularity, however, doesn’t make self-care any less important for your wellbeing.
There’s a lot more to the concept than bubble baths and movie nights at home, as you need to tend to all of the different areas of your health to really feel the positive effects of caring for yourself. With the wellness market growing by 6.9% every year in North America, there are many things you can do to incorporate self-care practices into your life. Let’s take a look at how you can apply these practices to each aspect of your overall health.
Many people think of self-care as making an effort to have alone time and do things that are exclusively for you. However, getting the proper amount of socialization is key to self-care. Anyone who leads a busy life knows how easy it is to accidentally neglect your relationships with friends and family. If you feel like your social needs aren’t being met, concentrate on putting time and energy into building your relationships with others.
As you assess your social self-care, consider whether you’re getting enough face-to-face time with your friends and what you’re currently doing to nurture your relationships with the people in your life. If something is stopping you from socializing more, address that first. For instance, 88% of women say that their hair directly affects their confidence. If you haven’t been feeling confident in your hair or other aspects of your appearance lately, spend the time and money to change up your look so that you feel ready to socialize.
The state of your body has a huge influence on the state of your mind. By taking care of your body, you will also be taking care of your mental and emotional wellbeing. Physical self-care encompasses many elements, including the amount of sleep you’re getting, how much physical activity you’re doing, and what you’re eating.
Another important aspect of physical self-care is attending doctor’s appointments and taking any prescribed medications. You can book regular physicals with your family doctor or you can even go to an urgent care clinic for a routine physical. There are about 7,357 urgent care centers in the United States, making it easier than ever to see an experienced physician to ensure your body is in tip-top shape.
Mental self-care has two main sides to it. One is doing things that keep you mentally sharp, such as learning about interesting subjects, reading books you love, or doing puzzles. Even watching movies that inspire you or make you think can be a form of mental self-care as it fuels your mind.
The other side of mental self-care is doing things that help you stay mentally healthy. This can include inner activities like practicing self-compassion to create a healthy inner dialogue as well as outer efforts such as taking a break from work. Studies show that 48% of employees who grind it out at work experienced stress at home as compared to 41% of employees who took sanity breaks. They’re also less likely to get promotions and raises than their less-stressed counterparts. By taking a mental health day or two, you can see both your home and work life improve.
It may seem like mental and emotional self-care are one and the same, but they are instead two separate aspects of health that affect one another. By focusing on your mental self-care, you will often feel better emotionally. In emotional-self-care, you develop healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions such as anxiety, sadness, and anger. Handling these emotions effectively can then put you in a better mental state.
Activities for emotional self-care typically include things that allow you to acknowledge and express your feelings regularly. This can take the form of talking to a close friend or partner about how you feel or setting aside time for activities that help you process your emotions such as yoga, an activity that has 36.7 million participants in the United States. Going to therapy can also be a great form of emotional self-care, as an experienced therapist will help you process emotions and give you coping methods to use on your own.
While incorporating religion into their lifestyle is helpful for some people, it may not other people’s cup of tea. Anything that helps you create a deeper sense of meaning, understanding, or connection with the universe can be considered spiritual self-care. Spiritual self-care is any activity that successfully nurtures your spirit.
Attending a religious service, praying at home, and practicing meditation are all forms of spiritual self-care. Even taking care of a plant can fall under spiritual self-care. By joining the 30% of households that buy at least one houseplant, you can experience the joy and satisfaction of helping something grow in this world. For many people, that sensation is plenty spiritual.
There’s no wrong way to practice self-care. Whether you are focusing on solidifying a healthy sleep schedule or you are planning a picnic with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, you’re taking care of yourself in some way. Remember to put in the effort and soon you will see — and feel — the rewards of proactive self-care.