Updated: May 30
Self-care is for everyone! Including, and especially, people with busy lives and hectic schedules. Learn how to incorporate more self-care into your everyday life!
We live in a society that’s constantly moving. There is a constant need to give our attention and energy to various responsibilities.
This simple truth means we neglect to take care of ourselves more often than not. We constantly put our responsibilities over our mental and physical health.
What does this mean for us as a society and as individuals?
It means that most of us are pushing through day-to-day activities at less than ideal capacity.
So, how do we fix it?
The answer is self-care done right.
In this article we'll discuss:
Why practice self-care?
Self-care is not a new term, but it seems to be gaining popularity as of late. The problem with popularizing self-care is that we start to believe that self-care is something that everyone else can do except for us.
This fallacy could not be further from the truth.
Everyone should have their own self-care routine. Those routines will vary from person to person, depending on individual needs, preferences, and lifestyles.
Still, the bottom line is that taking care of yourself should always be a priority.
There are many reasons why self-care is essential. For one, when you’re feeling good mentally and emotionally, you’re better able to take care of others. You’re also more productive and able to handle stressors in your life more effectively.
Another reason self-care is so vital? It’s essential for our overall health and well-being! When we neglect our own needs, we open ourselves up to burnout, illness, and other physical and emotional problems.
The problem with popularizing self-care is that we start to believe that self-care is something that everyone else can do except for us.
The world seems to be on a non-stop spiral, especially now; we are all dealing with excessive stress.
Self-care is vital for everyone, regardless of age, occupation, or lifestyle. We need to put in conscious effort to relax and take care of ourselves. Self-care is not reserved for just one tier of society; it is for everyone.
From stay-at-home moms managing their homes to college students stressed with loads of school work, everyone can and should engage in the practice of putting their mental health first.
Self-care is a term that people often use in the context of mental health, but it is something that benefits everyone.
What is Self-Care?
The word self-care means different things to different people. To some, it means taking a day off from work and kicking it back; to others, it means reading their favorite book and listening to music.
The World Health Organization defines 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 healthcare provider.”
Simply put, self-care includes taking care of yourself, physically and mentally. It also means managing whatever illnesses, mental or physical, to improve quality of life.
We define self-care as anything we do to take care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally. It can include getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising, spending time with friends and family, taking time for ourselves, etc.
Self-care is conscious and intentional. Caring about your well-being is part of the effort to optimize your mental and physical health. Self-care is essential in dealing with daily responsibilities and stressors.
When you go to an ATM to withdraw money, you can’t withdraw more than you have in your account. However, we constantly do this to our bodies. We don’t take proper care of ourselves, yet we demand ultimate output.
Self-care is essential in dealing with daily responsibilities and stressors.
How can we expect to give 100% of ourselves to a job, school, family, and relationships when we don’t care for ourselves? To make matters worse, when we fail to live up to these unrealistic expectations, we sometimes behave in ways that we shouldn’t.
Techniques for Building A Self-Care Routine
Self-care is an integral part of life, but it can be hard to know how to build a self-care routine. Here are some techniques that can help:
Make time for yourself. This may seem like a difficult task, but it’s essential to make time each day for yourself. Whether you take a few minutes to relax in silence or walk around the block, make sure you find time to focus on your own needs each day.
Set boundaries. It’s important to set boundaries with the people in your life and learn to say no when necessary. Don’t feel guilty about putting your needs first sometimes – you deserve it!
Find what works for you. Not everyone enjoys the same activities, so find out what works best for you and stick with it. Whether that means reading before bed every night or taking a yoga class once a week, make sure you’re doing something that makes you happy and helps improve your well-being.
Take care of your body mindfully. Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to pay attention to our bodies and go through the motions without thinking about what we’re doing. Instead, try slowing down and being mindful of everything you do throughout the day – from eating breakfast to going for a run. This practice will help ensure that you’re taking care of yourself both mentally and physically.”
Creating a Self-Care Plan
Here are a few tips to help you get into a self-care plan:
Make a list of activities that make you feel good and try to do at least one of them every day. This list could include: taking a nature walk, reading your favorite book, meditating, or practicing yoga.
Set aside some time each day specifically for self-care. It could be 30 minutes in the morning or evening or just 10 minutes before bedtime.
Find someone interested in starting a self-care routine with you and buddy up! Support from others makes it easier to stick with new habits.
Use a planner or calendar to track your self-care activities. This practice will help you see how much progress you’re making and keep yourself accountable.
Make sure your environment is conducive to self-care. This might mean creating a particular spot in your home where you can relax, removing distractions like TV or the internet, or investing in some soothing aromatherapy candles.
Figure out what works best for you. Some people prefer quiet time alone, while others need social interaction to feel rejuvenated. Experiment until you find activities or practices that help you feel restored physically and mentally.
When establishing a self-care routine, remember that there isn’t necessarily one right way to do something – experiment until you find what works best for YOU!
Try not to get discouraged if progress feels slow at first – After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Another way to incorporate more self-care into your life is by taking the time to identify and savor pleasurable experiences – even if they’re small ones!
Take a few minutes each day to enjoy your favorite song, spend some time outside, or treat yourself to your favorite food.
These activities will boost your mood and train your brain to associate pleasure with self-care. This subconscious association will make it easier for you to stick with your self-care routine in the long run.
How to Practice Self-Care
We can categorize self-care practices based on the area of your life that you’re seeking to improve. It depends on what your priorities are. In general, self-care practices break down into the following categories:
Physical well-being: Regular check-ups, practicing yoga or doing exercises, and healthy eating habits.
Mental and emotional health: This focuses on keeping your mind healthy; this might mean cutting yourself from people who bring in negative energy, establishing boundaries, keeping a feelings journal, taking time off.
Spiritual well-being: Spiritual well-being is just as important as physical and mental well-being for religious people. Spiritual wellness might mean attending and participating in religious services, meditation, or practicing religious rituals for these people.
Social well-being: As social creatures, human beings need to develop and maintain healthy social connections as it is essential to our functioning in society. We do this by going on playdates or simply hanging out with our friends.
We could also categorize our self-care practices based on the duration of the beneficial effects.
Short-term: Taking a spa day when you feel worn out, a quick nap when you feel tired, happy hour with your friends to deepen social connections, or just treating yourself to a nice dinner outing. As we can see, these practices are good for solving immediate needs, but what about in the long-term? Is taking a nap a sustainable self-care practice long-term?
Long-term: Going to therapy, practicing mindfulness exercises, regular exercises, healthy eating habits. All of these various practices focus not on immediate results but on creating patterns and behaviors that are healthy and beneficial to us in the long run. An ideal self-care method helps to cope with life stressors at that moment. It serves as a long-term solution by addressing underlying causes of stress.
When engaging in self-care practices, we often prioritize our physical well-being over our mental well-being. When we remember to take care of our emotional and mental health, we engage in short-term practices.
Many long-term mental health care practices are considered expensive, such as therapy. However, Meditation and mindfulness exercises are free and accessible, so let’s talk about them some more.
Meditation and Mindfulness
People have practiced meditation for thousands of years. It’s ancient medicine. It goes beyond the caricature of it we see in movies.
The initial purpose of meditation was to help broaden the understanding of life’s sacred and mystical forces. Many health care providers, self-care gurus, and health coaches have imbibed meditation into their practices to aid relaxation and calmness.
Modern meditation aims to increase and maintain physical, mental, and emotional calm. It eliminates distractions around troubling thoughts and focuses on what is essential at the time.
Some experts consider meditation a mind-body exercise because it is beneficial to physical and mental well-being.
There are several meditation techniques that one could practice. Here are five of the most popular:
This is the most common form of meditation. It usually involves taking time in a quiet and peaceful place to focus on breathing. People assume that this form of meditation works by eliminating thoughts from one’s conscious mind, but that is almost impossible.
Instead, mindfulness meditation helps us train our brain and mind to refocus our thoughts when we’re distracted. Mindfulness teaches your brain to be less anxious and stressed out by distracting thoughts.
Healthcare experts claim that mindfulness meditation could help individuals cope with anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders. With constant and consistent practice, mindfulness meditation becomes almost a second nature.
People who have become experts at it use it to get out of stressful situations as they are happening.
Body Scan Meditation
Body Scan Meditation involves focusing on one part of the body at a time while doing breathing exercises. Body Scan Meditation helps us be more aware of our bodies and tune our emotions.
You can do this for the whole body, just focusing on one part at a time. People who suffer from chronic pain report that this meditation has led to reduced pain.
Some people even say that practicing body scan meditation reduces the likelihood of engaging in short-term indulgent behavior.
This is similar to mindfulness meditation and body scan meditation except in this form of meditation. Individuals focus on their footsteps as they walk, which serves as a center to refocus one’s thoughts.
This form of meditation keeps the individual in tune with their body even as they attempt to train their minds.
Walking meditation helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Loving Kindness Meditation
This Meditation focuses on creating compassion and empathy in the previous forms of meditation. It works by reducing stress and anxiety levels and eliminating distracting thoughts.
To practice this form of meditation, find a quiet place with little to no distraction and begin to utter positive words. Some gurus even say to direct these words of good at random strangers.
Some of the benefits of this form of meditation include; conflict resolution and eliminating subconscious bias. When combined with therapy, Loving Kindness Meditation can improve depression, help with anger management and even resolve marital conflict.
You’ve probably heard of this one, even if you don’t know it. Transcendental meditation involves focusing on a mantra or a chant, repeating it constantly through the meditation exercise.
The benefits of this exercise are similar to the benefits of mindfulness meditation.
Strategies for building a self-care routine
Self-care is important. We all know that. But sometimes, it’s hard to make time for ourselves, especially when juggling work, family, and social obligations.
That’s why it’s essential to have a strategy for building a self-care routine that works for you. Here are seven strategies for building a self-care routine.
Make a list of things you enjoy doing and find ways to incorporate them into your daily life. This list could include reading, taking walks in nature, listening to music, or spending time with friends and family.
Set aside time each day specifically for yourself. This might mean waking up an hour earlier so you can meditate or journal before the day starts or scheduling a block of time after work to take a yoga class or read a book. Make sure you carve out some time each day just for you!
Avoid overscheduling yourself. Trying to fit everything in can be tempting, but this often leads to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Leave some room in your calendar for downtime and relaxation, so you don’t feel like you’re constantly running from one obligation to the next.
Take care of your body by eating healthy foods and getting enough exercise. It’s much harder to practice self-care when we’re exhausted mentally and physically. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself from the inside and the outside by nourishing your body with nutritious foods and getting regular exercise.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall off track occasionally. Nobody is perfect, and there will always be times when our best intentions fall by the wayside. Just pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and continue with your self-care routine knowing that you’re a human being capable of making mistakes!
Set aside time each day to relax and rejuvenate. Whether you choose to meditate, take a bath, or read a book, make sure you carve out some time each day just for yourself! This practice will help you recharge to continue taking care of yourself throughout the rest of the day.
Be mindful of your stress levels. Suppose you feel like you’re constantly under pressure. In that case, it’s going to be tough to find the energy necessary for practicing self-care. Take some time every day to reflect on your current stressors and develop ways to address them. Maybe there are some things you can delegate or let go of altogether to reduce stress?
Why is Self-Care Important?
Clearly, self-care has many benefits for both mental and physical health. Why, then, do so many people neglect to practice self-care?
The answer lies in our busy lifestyles and the misconception that self-care is a luxury that only people who can afford it can enjoy.
However, this is not the case. Self-care is for everyone, and we should all make time for it. By doing so, we can enjoy better mental and physical health overall.
Taking care of ourselves allows us to feel better emotionally and physically. We’re able to handle stress better and have more energy. We’re also more productive when we’re taking care of ourselves mentally and physically.
There are many reasons why self-care is essential. Some of the key benefits include:
Improved physical health
By improving their physical health, people can reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes. Moreover, they can also improve their overall quality of life.
Improved mental health
By improving their mental health, people can reduce their risk of developing mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders. Moreover, they can also improve their overall quality of life.
Mental health is a critical aspect of overall health and self-care. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to care for their mental health properly.
Suggestions for incorporating self-care into your life
Self-care is vital for everyone, but it’s especially crucial for people struggling with mental health issues. A self-care routine can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being. Here are a few suggestions for how to go about building a self-care routine:
Make time for yourself each day. You don’t need much time either; even 10 or 15 minutes can make a big difference. Dedicate this time to doing something that you enjoy, such as reading, taking a walk, or listening to music.
Try to get regular exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which can help to boost your mood and improve your mental health.
Eat healthy foods. Eating nutritious foods helps your body function at its best and keeps your mind sharp.
Avoid stressors whenever possible. If there are things in your life that are causing you stress, try to find ways to reduce or eliminate them from your life altogether.
Connect with loved ones regularly. Spending time with loved ones can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, both of which can contribute to poor mental health outcomes
Building a self-care routine can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort.
By taking care of yourself both physically and mentally, you can improve your overall well-being and reduce your risk of developing mental health issues.
The Benefits of Improved Mental Health
There are many benefits to improved mental health. Some of the key benefits include:
Balanced physical health: People with good mental health are more likely to have good physical health. This correlation is because healthy minds lead to healthy bodies. When individuals take care of their mental health, they are also more likely to take care of their physical health.
Reduced Stress Levels: One of the main benefits of improved mental health is reducing stress levels. When individuals have good mental health, they are less likely to feel stressed or overwhelmed by life’s challenges. A healthy mind leads to a more relaxed and productive lifestyle.
Increased Productivity: Another benefit of improved mental health is increased productivity. When individuals are free from stress and anxiety, they can focus better and get more done in a shorter amount of time. Good mental health leads to tremendous success both professionally and personally.
Benefits of Self-Care
We have evaluated the benefits of self-care practices such as meditation. Now we will consider the overall benefits of self-care in our daily lives.
Self-care boosts our productivity by helping us cope better with stress.
Self-care reduces our stress levels.
Self-care helps us deal with trauma and traumatic events, enhancing our healing process.
Self-care increases our self-confidence and overall ability to interact with people.
Self-care helps us build happier and healthier relationships.
Self-care reduces the risk of physical illness.
We live in a world where taking care of oneself has become a luxury instead of a priority. But that shouldn’t be the case. Taking care of ourselves should always take precedence. How can we bring our A-game if we are not functioning at maximum capacity? You would not drive a car without servicing it and ensuring everything is working correctly. So why do we demand that from our bodies and minds?
Self-care includes taking care of our person in total and taking care of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. All these elements contribute to who we are.
By improving our physical and mental health, we can enjoy better overall well-being.
It is essential for everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do. There are many different ways to practice self-care, so find something that works for you and practice it regularly!
Self-care is for everyone. It’s not a luxury, and it’s a necessity. Taking care of ourselves allows us to be our best selves and enjoy life.