Self-care has increasingly become a popular buzzword. But what does it mean? Is it truly as helpful as it is made out to be?
We all have to take care of ourselves to be productive members of society. If we let our health go or allow ourselves to experience chronic stress, not only will we feel awful, but also our productivity and proficiency will decrease as well. If you’ve ever tried to work while you’re stressed, you know what I’m talking about. You can’t concentrate, think creatively or stay focused. Luckily, self-care can fix that.
Benefits of Self-Care
Self-care is taking care of yourself. It’s having a little “me” time in the middle of your busy day. In our modern society, we tend to live a “road-runner” lifestyle. We wake up far earlier than we should, grab a bite to eat on the way out the door (maybe), and spend our day running from task to task, trying to get everything done before we have to wake up to do it all over again. We cancel social plans, skip meals and even stay up for nights on end. It can be exhausting, and it can take a huge toll on our mental health. Self-care can help us overcome these setbacks.
Firstly, self-care can help you stay productive. It might seem like you don’t have time to take care of yourself. After all, no one skips a meal or stays up late working because they feel like it. However, self-care can help you stay focused, which increases your productivity. By setting time aside for self-care, you will work more efficiently when you are working. In other words, by taking that lunch break, you could be increasing your productivity for the afternoon and get more done than you could have by working through it.
Secondly, self-care can also boost your immune system. The fewer days you are sick, the fewer days you will miss work. Self-care can also boost your resilience to mental illness and reduce the symptoms you might already be experiencing. In fact, self-care is a recommended therapy for those who are experiencing various mental illnesses. For example, according to a study done by Yale, self-care can prevent relapse in those recovering from substance abuse.
Starting a self-care routine isn’t difficult. One of the most basic ways to practice self-care is to take care of your physical needs. Eat three balanced meals every day with plenty of healthy snacks if you get hungry. Get a full night of sleep, whatever that might be for you. Take regular breaks. According to Time, you should work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes. When you do get home, be sure to unplug from your day job completely.
It might seem like answering emails now or finishing up that project will get you ahead, but sacrificing your at-home relaxing time can tire you out and actually cause you to perform worse and make more mistakes. Be sure to actually take time to relax. If taking care of yourself means telling others “no,” then that is what you need to do. It is hard to fill up others’ glasses if yours is empty.
If you’re looking for a move-involved routine or feel that you need to seriously de-stress, you might want to look into picking up a new hobby, trying meditation, trying a yoga class, or testing out a new movement practice like Parkour. This can be especially effective for addiction survivors. If you are in recovery, you might feel as if you are beginning each day half-empty. Taking regular, self-care breaks throughout the day can help you recharge your batteries and meet your day head-on.
Self-care is almost essential in our modern, fast-paced world. Without it, we can easily become overworked, overstressed and physically and mentally sick. Self-care is a great tool for taking care of our mental and physical health while also increasing our productivity.
How do you practice self-care?
Let us know your self-care routine in the comments below!